Sunday, June 13, 2004
Before the Rain
The spring gardening dilemma—getting the plants in before it starts to rain. On Thursday, work kept me in the office late. On the way home, low hanging clouds like above the horizon looked grim. It would be a race to get the plants in on time.

Last weekend, I tried to race the rain, and I came in dead last and very muddy. My over-organized plan for the weekend included planting two flats of ground cover on the hill that runs along the side of my backyard. I’d chopped out an overgrown honeysuckle a few days before, and it left a large, weed-free spot to fill. My goal is to eventually turn the entire slope into a groundcover free-for-all. I‘d like to see the periwinkle duke it out with the ajuga. When the appointed time came to do my planting, I felt a light drizzle, but under the trees that run along the top of the slope, things were pretty dry. Let’s go for it, I thought. What’s a little rain to a hardy gardener?

As I began planting the first row, lightning flickered in the distance. Nothing to worry about, I thought. The wind picked up and the rain began to ping through the canopy of leaves overhead. To hurry things along, I started tossing compost and baby plants into the fresh-dug holes with a softball pitch.

Flash! Crack! That was way too close. Randy opened the window and shouted out to me, “It’s time to stop playing and come inside.” I’d already abandoned my shovel and was running for cover.

After the thunderhead moved on, I thought I’d head out to finish up what I’d started. How bad could it be? Well, I’ll tell you. It is possible to plant two flats of groundcover after a rainstorm, but when you’re finished you look like you’ve taken up professional mud wrestling.

Last Thursday, I got lucky. Five bargain plants purchased at a neighbor’s annual plant sale. All planted without the wrath of god upon my head. To get the plants off to a good start, I sprinkle a little bonemeal fertilizer and hope for the best.


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