Into each life a little rain must fall

rainy Bristol harbor 10-6-10This morning a fellow dog walker said to me, “Ugh – this rain is horrible!” To which I replied, “yeah… but we need it.” She looked at me a little sideways. And to myself I said, “Are you kidding me? This is GREAT!” My dog was as muddy as hers and I couldn’t see past the drops on my glasses but gardeners are a breed of human that take the bad with the good. And rain? It’s a good thing! Especially in the dusty wake of a drought. “Some days must be dark and dreary”*. — It’s about time. And it’s part of what I love about October. Nothing sets off the colors of fall like a fine mist on a gray day.

It is a heavy rain today giving us a welcome chance to catch up on greenhouse work and to hash out our annual assessments of the gardens. We’ve worked out a schedule for October and provided it doesn’t rain the entire month (and of course, we need it to) we’ll start taking the gardens apart to make way for projects.

Rosa 'Champlain' in the rainDahlia 'Outta Da Blue' on a gray daya gray, gray day combo - Salvia 'Mystic Spires', aster and cardoon

Stock plants in the greenhouse (the spires are Stachytarpheta - porterweed)We’ve already started to bring in stock plants – tender perennials from which we’ll take more cuttings – and we hope to have all of the container plants in the greenhouse by the end of next week. It might kill us to do it, but Gail and I will also harden our hearts to take annuals – still in glorious bloom – out of the North and Rose Gardens next week, right after the house closes for the season. (Remember, Columbus Day is last day to see the house before Christmas – and all of the gardens in full glory, come to think of it.) The week after that we hope to turn a load of compost in to the starved Rose Garden. And we’ve got to play musical perennials in the North Garden – the lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis) needs dividing (it’s been 3 years and the plants are huge) and to be moved back to keep the flowers from blurring the garden’s ultra-crisp edges. And we have to do all of that of course before we plant the tulips, which we have to do before we lose our volunteers for the season. Whether a little rain, or a lot of rain falls in this life, we have a schedule to keep.

What are your plans for October? Is it raining?

*quote and post title from a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

5 thoughts on “Into each life a little rain must fall

  1. I’m feeling a little smug about the rainfall this week. Last week I dug everything out of a very dry dismal planting bed and renovated it with plants that have winter interest. After months of being attached to a hose, I haven’t had to think about watering for a week, and am reminded of why we should plant gardens in the fall.

    Kathy, This is absolutely the best time to plant and transplant – and this year I’m not going to procrastinate! -kris

  2. I’m always amazed at how optimistic Longfellow was considering how his life was riddled with tragedy, like his wife having her dress catch on fire and burning to death. I’m thinking where most of us get a little rain, Longfellow got some monsoons or a hurricane or two.

    Susan, I don’t actually know anything about him (I’m just a quote poacher) – was he a gardener? -kris

  3. Oh, I couldn’t agree more. It is terrible to go into winter with dry feet. I, too, brought in some tenders and also must do a bit of dividing and compost spreading. There will be sunny days for that.

    Layanee, I’ve been procrastinating the compost spreading at home… I want a very chilly sunny day for that. -kris

  4. You are so right about how we with the gardeners heart watch the weather channel and search the skies, hoping for signs of rain. We want a few days of a nice steady soaking rain every so often, and we are amazed at how many people seem thrilled with week after week of relentless, gorgeous sunshine. Like a winter in the North with little or no snow actually is considered a good winter for alot of folks! Sort of scary.

    Jean, Just this weekend I talked to a guy who thought this summer was the best ever. Weird. But he’s a boater, not a gardener… -kris

  5. I’m not sure; I do know that he stipulated that his house on Brattle Street in Cambridge should always have a direct view of the Charles River, so they preserved a narrow park and easment down to the riverbank that remains there to this day.

    I’ll have to look for that next time I’m up that way! (I should go to Boston/Cambridge more often. It’s not that far away…) -kris

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