Monday, 9 January 2012

Weird Weather Woes

Happy ferns and hostas in my shade garden,
Spring 2011
My thoughts are very much on the weather this morning - an occupational hazard I suppose. The weather here is just not what it ought to be, nor has it been for a very long time. We live in the country about 20 minutes northwest of Kingston, Ontario ...12 minutes if you drive like the locals.

I should proclaim that I am a self-confessed Weather Network addict, an addiction that has driven me to complete and utter distraction the past seven months. The gardening season started off with a bang here last Spring. Copious amounts of rain fell and my gardens flourished...the shade garden looked stunningly jurassic with luscious ferns and huge hosta leaves. I was a happy, happy girl...

Then someone turned off the tap.

I should explain for a moment that I garden on just under an acre of property that sits on top of fractured limestone. I have little native soil to speak of. My gardens consist of raised beds with the abundant limestone repurposed as retaining walls. Truckloads of soil have been brought in over the last five years.  It is not ideal, I know...the limestone  substrate acts like a giant sponge and watering is a constant challenge.

It was a cruel, cruel thing that my plants responded so vigorously to the spring rains, then had to endure drought like conditions for three months. I know many of you had to deal with rain and flooding all summer. But it did not rain here. In fact, it would rain 10 minutes to the east, north, west and south of us...but not here. 

Along with our fantastically feisty neighbour Natasha, my husband and I would sit staring at great, dark storm clouds as they rolled in, rush to make sure our rain barrels were hooked up, grab a glass of wine and sit and pray. And pray. And pray.

The good folks at Weather Network said there was 100% chance of rain. 15-20 mm. 5- 10 mm. 40 mm.

We performed our little rain ritual all summer and yet the rain never fell. By late August we were a frenzied group feeling battered by heat and steeped in disappointment. I had a water truck come to fill my rain barrels.

The fall has given us some respite, but early into winter and we have had little snow. With this post I am sending a wish out into the universe for huge amounts of precipitation...our local trees desperately need it, as do our farmers. I will gladly take any snow you may wish to send my way!

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