Blessed Rain

The garden is very thirsty. Plants new and old are craving more moisture for their roots deep in the soil. Hand watering has been done as new plants have gone into the ground, with some splashing for the older residents as well. After a long wait, we finally received some rain yesterday. The oriental poppy, a passalong from good neighbors, thanks Mae and Mickey, was grateful for the slowly falling drink from the sky.
The columbine, aquilegia ‘Magpie’, grown from free seeds included in a Thompson and Morgan order several years ago, is now opening, and was glad to get a shower to wash off the yellow pine pollen from its petals. He is looking clean and refreshed.

Heuchera ‘Plum Pudding’ is holding the precious liquid in its center, reflecting the sky above.

New this year to us, planted last fall, is Allium ‘Purple Sensation’. These received an A+ rating for their deep purple color and nice size, measuring up at about two and one half feet in height. More of these will be added to this year’s bulb order, being formed mentally now.

The same allium, fully open. Normally only one shot would be posted of these, but the decision was made to show both. The flower head is three inches across, making a statement in the garden while not being so heavy as to need staking. Five bulbs were planted in one large hole to make life easier on the digger in fall and give more substance to the display in spring.

The iris season has begun here. After two flowerless years, the iris collection was very nearly composted. Giving them one more chance, the plants were divided and replanted last fall, making sure to remove any and all weeds that like to plant themselves in the middle of the rhizomes. Soft and damaged parts were discarded, the leaves trimmed to six inch fans, the rhizomes were planted facing south with the tops just exposed above the soil. If they did not bloom after all that, it would be a sad goodby, bon voyage. Responding to the threat, Champagne Elegance is giving us a good show.

Another of the many passalongs from wonderful Mae and Mickey down the street is this ‘brown’ iris. The older varieties are loved just as much as the few newer ones we grow.

Like this Cinnamon Girl, a real starlet. She is a very heavy bloomer on tall strong stems.

The story of the
dance of the dianthus can be summed up with this shot of the pathway that traverses the middle terrace. In the upper left corner is the climbing rose, Moonlight, just coming into its bloom period that lasts until frost.

Offspring Semi has a large specimen, grown from a cutting, of this same rose. We were discussing this weekend the beauty, vigor and fragrance of Moonlight. It was determined that if one were to only grow a single variety of rose, this would be it.

The azaleas have benefitted from the somewhat cooler recent days and the slow drizzle of rain. The blossoms were not knocked off by a harsh pelting of drops, but were misted gently instead, allowing the colorful blooms to remain on the stems extending our delight. Shown above from the left, R. Admiral Semmes, R. Mandarin Lights and R. Primrose.

( Close up of Rhododendron ‘Primrose’)
We are thankful for the blessed rain recently received. The drought continues here in Southeast Tennessee, we are five inches below average for this year, nearly a twelve inch deficit left over from last year. Any rain is good rain at this point. The steps to lessen the impact of these weather statistics that we can take here, in addition to frenzied dances performed to appease the rain gods, are mulching, detailed weeding, and planting the natives that can survive a lack of water by suctioning the moisture from our clay soil. Last year we were still wringing our hands over the late killing frost when the drought began. We were not paying attention to the saddening state of the plants, blaming the cold temperatures for the drooping leaves and browning flowers. It was difficult to diagnose plant deaths until fall when the hard facts of the drought began to make headlines and lead in stories on the news. We are now armed with the knowledge that we are in the throes of a serious lack of rain. We can be vigilant and quick with the watering can and the rain gauge. We can be thankful when the skies are dark with the clouds that bring the precious precipitation. And we are.


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37 Responses to Blessed Rain

  1. Carol says:

    I am hopefully getting some rain for my garden today, too. I don’t recall seeing the ground crack from dryness the way it has in some parts of my garden this spring.

    Yes, blessed rain is quite welcome!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  2. Frances, says:

    Carol, thankfully it is still raining here, even though it was supposed to stop last night, hooray. We are more aware this year, the ground is drier than normal for spring, I agree.

  3. Jan says:

    We needed rain, too, and got some Saturday. Rain seems so much better for plants than just watering from the faucet. Your garden must look so lovely with such wonderful flowers in bloom. Your hard work has paid off, hasn’t it?

    Jan Always Growing

  4. garden girl says:

    I’m glad your garden got some much-needed rain Frances. Everything is looking beautiful – refreshed and renewed. I hope the drought eases this year.

  5. Layanee says:

    I have also been waiting for rain as it has been a couple of weeks now. It is raining just slightly right now and hopefully more will arrive. Your garden looks magical and lovely! I walked your path with my cup of coffee this morning. Thank you!

  6. patientgardener says:

    Unlike you over there in the US, here in the UK I would like it to stop raining!! I really liked the photos especially the Heuchera

  7. ourfriendben says:

    Thank God it’s finally raining in my part of PA, too, Frances(yesterday and today)! We were beginning to despair. Little Hawk Run had been reduced to a veritable trickle after weeks of drought at a time when it’s usually in spate. Just yesterday, I heard the mallard pair that always nests here in spring calling mournfully to eahc other, clearly asking “What the?!!” I’m so thrilled that your irises made a strong comeback–sounds like you did everything right. I can’t wait for iris season to begin here!

  8. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    So glad to hear that you have had some much needed rain Frances.

    Our early Irises have started blooming too. I need to go through one group of iris and give them a going over as you say you did. The old fashioned purple ones, the early bloomers, are doing ok but some of the others are not.

    I love that picture of the Heuchera leaf with the water beads.

    Speaking of grass growing through a plant. I had a large clump of dianthus out front that perfumed the air every spring and the dreaded quack grass got in it. I had to dig up the clump and practically destroy it to get the grass out. Very disappointing.

    The wild columbines are blooming in our garden but none of the others. I really like your freebie.

  9. Piondröm says:

    Frances, you seams to have a very beautyful garden with a lot of different plants, all of them in my taste.
    It is fun to see what we have to expect in our own garden, beacouse you are several weekt earueur than us.
    Very fin pictures with the raindrops on the flowers.
    I must say that we also need some rain now.
    Primrose is one of our favorits, most the double ones.
    Regards Ken

  10. Nancy J. Bond says:

    Your Primrose Rhodo is stunning! I love that butter yellow color in the garden. Your steps through the terrace look wonderful!

  11. mss @ Zanthan Gardens says:

    We enjoyed our rain too, although sometimes I wish we could spread it out a bit. I hate getting a month’s rain in 15 minutes and then no more for another month.

    Your dianthus pathway is so gorgeous. And you make me want azaleas. Some people grow them here but they don’t really like Austin’s alkaline soils and I don’t want to struggle with another fussy plant.

  12. Dave says:

    I’m glad we got the rain also but I wish it had been on Thursday or Friday. It would have been nice to be out in the garden yesterday afternoon.

    I love the pathway shot! Great photo’s all around Frances!

  13. Frances, says:

    Jan, you are so right. Hand watering cannot be as beneficial as a slow steady rain for the plants. I do work hard out in the garden, sometimes it is thrilling to see results, like those iris. I really was going to get rid of them all, they had not bloomed for a couple of years.

    Linda, Thanks. I was out working this morning and it started raining again. I got soaked, as usual, buy didn’t mind a bit.

    Layanee, I hope you get some of this system’s rain also. Thanks for that, you don’t know, or maybe you do, how good that makes me feel, to have you join me with coffee in hand.

    Helen, I too wish we could have more of your rain, too much is a problem also. Thanks, that is a fave of min too.

  14. Gail says:

    It was wonderful to get rain, the clay soil in Middle Tennessee was cracked and plants were sure looking thirsty. Frances, this is a lovely post, I thoroughly enjoyed the iris, the azalea and the reminder of the Dance of the Dianthus. The rose sounds divine, all season bloom and fragrance. hmmm, can I find a spot for it becomes the question of the day!


  15. Frances, says:

    Ellen, MFB, May the rain fall on your mallards, giving them some comfort, and make your stream rise. Those iris are a pleasant surprise, I had given up on them, this was their last chance. Hope yours do well.

    Lisa, don’t you just hate it when a seed plants itself right in the middle of a prized specimen? Hope you dianthus will recover, they are pretty tough. Thanks, the columbine was a lucky freebie, sometimes they are not so wonderful.

    Ken, we do have a lot of the same types of plants in our gardens, great minds think alike! ;-> I would love to find a source for those double primroses. Thanks for visiting.

    Nancy J., thanks. That light yellow really goes with everything. I have some pansies that color that were planted last fall, they disappeared when the daffodils were blooming, too much yellow, but now are the stars of the shady hill around the pond with the dark red maple foliage. There is still weeding to be done on the terrace path, but the dianthus are blooming their heads off. Glad you enjoyed them.

  16. Frances, says:

    MSS, thanks. I don’t blame you for avoiding fussy plants. Our soil in Houston was terribly alkaline, but the evergreen azaleas were superb. The deciduous ones that I brought there from TN struggled however, and were dug back up and came back to the house we now live in. Those types of azaleas are native to the forest edges here, I think the evergreen ones are from Japan, different soil maybe. Sorry about your rain issues, but I like how you are handling them.

    Dave, all rain is good rain, but we did get wet too on our weekend activities at my daughter’s in Knoxville. Glad you enjoyed the path shot, I almost didn’t include it but wanted to give some idea of the dianthus bloom.

    Gail, It got dry so fast, didn’t it? I think you could grow those azaleas. Timing of planting seems to be crucial, they don’t like to go in the ground in the heat. I usually see them for sale at the big box stores in February. But the bigger, more expensive nursery ones are available all year. Now you can see what the blooms look like on those. Financier got me a new white one for my birthday, in full bloom.

  17. Amy says:

    There’s nothing so wonderful for the garden as a thorough, soaking rain! Your garden is so lovely, and your photos are almost as good as actually being there 🙂

  18. chuck b. says:

    We had a couple tenths of an inch of rain last week. That’s probably the last of it until October, maybe later.

    Really–if you could grow one rose it would be a white rose?

  19. tina says:

    Yes indeed, any rain is welcomed. The much anticipated rain that made its way to you did not materialize here in upper middle TN. I am hoping for some tonight though. I have that exact same ‘brown’ iris! It also was a passalong from a nice lady who hybridizes daylillies and grows blackberries and blueberries commercially. I was surprised it is different, and very reliable. Do you know the exact variety by chance? Or is it known as brown iris?

  20. Robin's Nesting Place says:

    I love the pictures of your rain soaked flowers.

  21. Dee/reddirtramblings says:

    Frances, it looks like heaven. The “dance of the dianthus” was an especially beautiful line. Could you ask the rain to come here first next time? I promise to send it on after.~~Dee

  22. brokenbeat says:

    last night, after a twelve hour day of insane digging, chopping, rock-moving, basically all out gardening, which is the best kind, i stood outside in the downpoor trying to soak in the light from the streetlamps reflecting off the flowers and foliage. my forehead was still sweating and i could taste the salt on my tongue. i, like the plants, grew more and more refreshed with every falling drop. today, while at work, i put on my rain jacket and stand in an open space thinking about the sweet pictures and words you have offered to the anxious reader. the rain splashes off my repelling shell. a mist surrounds me as i rub my shaved head. i offer thanks up to the sky, hoping they will wend through the rain and make it your way. and if they aren’t able…. thank you.

  23. Frances, says:

    Amy, thanks, the rain is so enjoyable when it is so badly needed. Happy dianthus day!

    Chuck B., No rain until October? That is the way it was in Fullerton, also. We had a sprinkler system that was not on timers. One time we went on vacation and asked the neighbor kids to turn on the sprinklers in the back yard. They forgot about it and left it one for a couple of days. When we returned the back yard was engulfed with a white pumpkin plant that one of the kids had started in a milk carton at school. It covered the whole yard, and they had to confess that the reason was the amount of water on the yard. Stuff grew like crazy there, even with little water. Yes, a white rose because this one is in bloom from now until November, no feeding, dead heading, no insect problems. It is a mannerly climber, about six to eight feet and very fragrant.
    Color can be had from other flowers, but not that scent or bloom abundance.

  24. mashley says:

    water droplets, pooling puddles, bowing grasses, dripping petals, misty breezes, sultry scents, swelling buds, and swimming ants. all of these from the gift of rain, i sit and smile as the clouds roll in again. love love 🙂

  25. Frances, says:

    Tina, I am sorry you didn’t get any rain. The iris is referred to here as ‘brown’. Maybe on the Dave’s garden site you could find a photo.

    Robin, thanks. We love that the flowers are rain soaked.

    Dee, thanks. I wish I had more control over the rain, and would be more than happy to let you get a good downpour if you would save some for us too. ;->

    Brokenbeat, I too stood in the rain, letting it drip off my head and shoulders and feeling glad. Thanks for the good wishes. love.

  26. Brenda Kula says:

    Despite all the weather woes, you do have beautiful blooms. I send, for apt of a better word, rain karma your way!

  27. Frances, says:

    mashley, Such lovely phrases bring a smile, like the happy rain. love.

    Brenda, good karma of any kind is great, but rain karma is better than most. Thanks for sending it.

  28. Mr. McGregor's Daughter says:

    You Tennesseans deserve a break from that terrible drought! Don’t you just love the smell of spring rain? All your flowers look so lovely & refreshed. Here, it’s starting to snow. (No joke.)

  29. The Giraffe Head Tree says:

    Amen. Our yards are all the better from the soft rains, and I’m forever grateful for each and every drop.

  30. Jane Marie says:

    We’ve been getting rain off and on here in Michigan, just the way it should be in spring. It’s windy and cold though so that’s disappointing. I never think about watering with a sprinkler until at least late May, of course we’re much farther behind than some of you.

  31. Linda Lunda says:

    WOW! Your garden are amazing!! I do love all your photos!
    Regards Linda

  32. Frances, says:

    MMD, that is nothing to joke about! Snow? Is that your normal spring precipitation? Thanks for the kind words, we received about an inch in all with this event. Still need much more.

    Debi, gratitude is the key feeling here too.

    Jane Marie, we try and not use a sprinkler here at all. A watering can and hose being dragged are what’s used. Glad to hear you are having good rain.

    Linda, thanks, happy to hear those kind words.

  33. Pam/Digging says:

    Your macro images are so pretty, Frances. With the rain drops ornamenting them, your flowers look so fresh and lush. Your garden looks like a special place indeed.

  34. Nan Ondra says:

    Hooray! Now I too can celebrate with you and the others who have been enjoying this much-needed rain. Besides blessing the garden, it gives me a good excuse to stay indoors and work on the wrap-up for this month’s Design Workshop. Now, if we can just get through Tuesday night without flirting with the predicted frost here in our part of PA….

  35. Crafty Gardener says:

    We had rain today also. It is amazing how quickly the ground dried out after all that snow we had.

    I love your dance of the dianthus photo. My dianthus are just beginning to get some small buds on them.

    I love taking photos of blooms and leaves after rain, trying to capture the raindrops on them. You did a wonderful job on your photos.

  36. Melanie says:

    Frances, your photo of Heuchera ‘Plum Pudding’ is just breathtaking. We are getting this rain today and are expecting at least one more inch if not more overnight. I can’t wait to see our plants leap up out of the ground now.

  37. Frances, says:

    Pam, thanks, that is quite the compliment coming from the expert of the macro shot!

    Nan, thanks. Don’t wrap that workshop up yet, I have mine in the works. Hope you don’t have any damage from frost.

    Crafty, thanks. First we have to have rain in order to get drippy shots. The flowers seem to be posing when wet, don’t they?

    Melanie, spring rain is the best. Thanks and glad you enjoyed Plum Pudding. Hope your plants leap tall and far.

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