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Rain, Rainbows, Some Plant Saves, and Some Losses

Rainbow over our fruit tree orchard

I feel as if I’ve become an expert on rain. Every nuance of rain, from the soft fuzzy patter of fog-turning-rain into the hard downpour that hammers a tattoo on your umbrella and hurts your skin if it touches it.

Last Thursday evening, the Master Gardeners convened for their annual social outing and to tour my garden. I kept my fingers crossed as the radar on the weather channel promised thunderstorms and rain, but it moved to the north and east and skipped my tiny part of the world. So far, so good. But that night, the thunderstorms moved in…and the rains followed…and followed.

As a gardener, I know I should give thanks for the rain – and I do.  I haven’t had to water the vegetable garden in days, and my flower garden is lush, a term rarely used in my Virginia garden. Droughts are more common than days on end of ceaseless rain. But after canceling plans to have friends over for a barbecue on Saturday, and our own dinner on the patio to celebrate spring on Sunday, I was growing restless.

The rain stopped long enough on Sunday for me to squeeze into my garden clogs and head out to the vegetable garden. I picked weeds out of the tomato bed, cursed the frost for damaging my lovely tomatoes, and planted 24 pepper plants. I also replaced nine sweet potatoes killed by the frost.  I picked some fresh lettuce and radishes and with cats following me back to the house, returned to an afternoon spent watching movies as the rain once again began to fall.

Around 6 pm, the rain slackened enough for me to clip on Shadow’s leash to walk her through the orchard.  Umbrella in hand, pink rain slicker on, we stepped outside…and were greeted by the smile of a rainbow.

Not just one rainbow. Two. A perfect double arc of color slicing through the scuttling clouds.

It was enough of a promise to remind us that God won’t destroy us by floods ever again, but when the rains began another round, it sure felt like we were destined for floods!

This lovely peony is horizontal now…

The peonies are all but flattened from the rain, their heavy blowsy heads knocked down by the hammer blows of rain. Some tomatoes and sweet potatoes were lost to the killing frost, but not all.  The strawberries, fat with the blessings of the rain, need only to ripen. The greens are heavenly; I am feasting on salads of greens for lunch and wilted, garlic infused broccoli rabe.

Evening primrose, iris, peonies in my garden.

The evening primrose is bloming, turning the hillside near the perennial garden into a sea of pink. The skinks, tiny lizards, are out and about, as are the toads. We save the toads from the cats, but the skinks are a lost cause; there are too many to save. Ticks are plentiful, but so are the Eastern swallowtails and the golddfinches; curses and blessings, blessings and curses.

Rain brings rainbows and frost makes some vegetables sweeter. The garden will be bountiful this spring and into the early summer, fortified by abundant spring rains, while I am eager to get outside again. Spring rains bring blessing and curses to the garden, rain and rainbows.

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