Five Inches of Rain Brings on Autumnal Madness

– Posted in: Garden chores

Five inches of rain fell here in roughly 24 hours. After a multi-week dry spell where my constant promise to my garden was, “As soon as we get some rain, I’m going to…”, it finally rained, big time. Casting an eye at the seasonal clock and acknowledging that we really should have had a frost by now and the whole garden was living on borrowed time, I threw myself into the garden chores like a madwoman.

The Massacre

First up was extirpating the tap-rooted weeds, primarily dock (Rumex obtusifolius), but also mallow (Malva alcea ‘Fastigiata’) and dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). I can remove most dandelions with a long, narrow trowel, but there was one growing through the heart of an iris clump and I was waiting for a good, soaking rain to lift the clump and remove the infiltrator. The dock, I confess, always sneaks up on me. Bitty seedlings one day, foot-wide monsters seemingly overnight. And the mallows are good garden plants gone rogue. By the time I was done, I had left the victims of a massacre in my wake.

Taprooted weeds pulled out

The great taproot massacre of October 2010

Wheelbarrow Is Homeless Shelter

Then it was time for “furniture-rearranging.” These plants come out to make room for a shrub. They get moved here, after I pull out the weeds. We’ll add that passalong from my garden buddy, after I take out this daylily, which will go–where?

rocks, weeds, homeless plants

Rocks, weeds, and homeless plants are the byproducts of a garden bed renovation

Sometimes you have to stop before you’re done rearranging everything. Then you just pray the homeless plant will survive until you find it a new home. I’m going to take out a daylily I don’t like and plant that one in the wheelbarrow in its place. Really, I am, just as soon as it stops raining.

Madness Delayed

Yes, it’s raining again, which makes me doubly glad I asked my fifteen-year-old son to remove the sod for a new bed during that sunny period after the deluge. Fortunately the soil was pretty good, because I didn’t have time to amend it, and I’m saving what compost I have left for the roses I still have to plant.

New bed with teensy shrubs

Three planted, a cart-full left to go.

Knowing more rain was coming, I did put away all the tools. But all the weeds and stones are still wherever I flung them or piled them. The dead can be gathered to their final resting home after the living are safely ensconced in the warm embrace of garden soil. And that garden soil is getting chillier every day. The rains are predicted to end on Thursday, when the madness begins again.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

In its own way, frost may be one of the most beautiful things to happen in your garden all year . . . Don’t miss it. Like all true beauty, it is fleeting. It will grace your garden for but a short while this morning. . . . For this moment, embrace frost as the beautiful gift that it is.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

Comments on this entry are closed.

Stephanie Werskey October 7, 2010, 11:35 am

I can relate to everything about this post! The clock is ticking – this weekend looks like the weather should cooperate in the Hudson Valley.

Ilona October 6, 2010, 5:16 am

Wow you got a downpour! We have just a bit of moisture… like Carol, still waiting for more. I’ve been moving some things because of my new project, but have lots of things to put in with the same quandary: where?

Carol October 5, 2010, 8:07 pm

Yes, if I get some rain, I’ll be rushing around like a madwoman trying to plant before fall is over. If I don’t get rain, I’ll just go mad!

Patty October 5, 2010, 5:22 pm

Obviously you work well under pressure. Looks like you accomplished quite a lot despite the weather. We are on day 3 of rain (it’s raining even now) in southern Ontario. Nothing too heavy but constant. Tomorrow is another day.

Lynn October 5, 2010, 10:50 am

Sounds like my weekend, but you got more done! Looking forward to a sunny Saturday in the low ’60s and keeping an eye on the low temps.

commonweeder October 5, 2010, 9:57 am

We got at least 6 inches of rain here, and I ran out to clear out beds so I could enjoy the feeling of preparedness for spring after trying to ignore the failures, all due to drought. I am sure the drought explains all failures this year. My aching back caught up with me before the next rain. But I’m not complaining on either front.

Leslie October 4, 2010, 10:50 pm

You aren’t kidding..that was some mad frenzy! You have so much going on and you got so much done!

Lisa Ueda October 4, 2010, 10:45 pm

I’m pretty sure if I tackled that much garden at once I’d cripple myself πŸ™‚

Kathy Purdy October 5, 2010, 8:16 am

You know, Lisa, I think the second wave of rain saved me. I was feeling pretty creaky Monday morning, and glad to see I had an excuse not to go out and work some more.

Gail October 4, 2010, 10:40 pm

I’m feeling the pressure, too Kathy, and have been waiting for rain to finish planting. We have frost warning again. Too weird! Your son did a marvelous job on the garden bed! Gail

Mr. McGregor's Daughter October 4, 2010, 10:30 pm

You are a garden-renovating machine! I love the train of weeds left in your wake. The pressure is on to get everything into the ground before the bottom drops out. I hope you get it all done before anything expires.