Friday, May 19, 2006

Weather-crazed gardener

One of the things that first struck us when we moved to our 10-acre country property was the big sky. Although we don't live in western Canada, which really is big sky country, our southern Ontario sky can be pretty impressive.

It certainly was a couple of nights ago when a major thunderstorm with golfball sized hail swept through our region. The storm missed us - we had sunshine all the while - but the dark, almost black, sky to the east was amazing to see.

As I always do when interesting weather comes, I took my camera (I use my digital Panasonic point and shoot for this sort of thing, one of the newer models with virually no shutter lag) and managed to capture lightning, just visible in the picture above our barn.

Like most avid gardeners, I'm an obsessed weather-watcher, and only truly content when what the weather is doing is good for my plants.

So give me just enough rain - an inch a week during the growing season, please. And I want decent snow cover all winter, long cool springs, summers that are warm, not hot, and gorgeous autumns with just enough rain and that wonderful coolness in the air.

Ah, dream on, gardener: The reality is weeks of dryness, or so much rain that you can't keep up with the mowing. In winter, (at least lately) it's been too mild, alternating with too darned cold. And don't get me started on summer: heat, humidity and drought are the bane of my gardening existence. So pat me on the head, bring me a tall, cool Vitamin G (gin and tonic with lime), and make me to sit on patio with a book.

With regard to nature, gardeners and weather, here's how garden writer Henry Mitchell, once put it:
"There are no green thumbs or black thumbs. There are only gardeners and non-gardeners. Gardeners are the ones who ruin after ruin get one with the high defiance of nature herself, creating in the very face of her chaos and tornado, the bower of roses and the pride of irises."

Exactly right, now where's that G&T?