Rain Rain Go Away

It has been a while since I wrote a blog. Apparently nobody reads blogs, but Google takes notice of them and it shoves the website further up the rankings, which I am told is A Good Thing so here goes. Despite everybody moaning about rain, I will moan too, but with accuracy. My shiny new plastic funnel rain gauge is addictive.

The weather station at RNAS Yeovilton 8 miles away reports that February rainfall averages 63 millimetres. My rain funnel measured 105mm last month. It felt a lot more because we have many days with long spells of light rain rather than deluges, with very few sunny days and drying winds in between. A spell of those makes it possible to walk on the borders without sticking to them. I am desperate to get on with the spring work of evicting unwanted weeds, splitting perennials and mulching.

To make matters worse, the temperatures have been milder than average with very few frosts. New growth is shooting early and border work is very far behind. The good news is that rhubarb is growing tender and early, so get picking. If you are already fed up with rhubarb crumble, make rhubarb and blood orange gin liqueur to sozzle your rainy blues.

Gardeners know that walking on soggy soil is A Bad Thing , because the weight collapses the tunnels thoughtfully made by worms and compacts the ground. I’m thinking of inventing the gardeners equivalent of snow shoes so I can tread lightly through the borders. That would be impossible in my garden as there is hardly enough room to place my feet between the plants already.  I struggle to find room to put in a new purchase.

I bury the nursery label next to a new plant, then pencil another label to mark it until it starts to grow enough to recognise and remember it.  Once the plant shoots are committed to memory, I take the label away. If a perennial succeeds and increases, I shall dig it up to split and spread it. I will be reminded of what variety it was when I find the original label, instead of calling it Thingy. I wish I was organised enough to keep up with a plant purchase diary. Quite often I will find a space, only to excavate a label of a previous plant failure, which is a brake on the ambition to grow it again.

Now mid-March, the rain is still light but frequent. We expect to have 53 millimetres of rain and so far nearly halfway through the month we’ve had 36. Do not feel bad if your garden looks a mess right now. The clocks are going forward at the end of the month. There will be more daylight and hopefully drier weather to garden after work. Fill the freezer full of pizzas and the bowl full of fruit and insist your family fend for themselves for the whole of April while you catch up in the garden.