Garden Lifestyle


This past month I have traveled across the country and back and everywhere I have been it has RAINED.

Early spring garden landscape in drizzle--everything is coming up green! Click on other pix to enlarge and read captions.
Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger

Sweet April showers, do spring May flowers.
                                     —Thomas Tusser, circa 1557,
                                     A Hundred Good Points of Husbandry

This past month I have traveled across the country and back and everywhere I have been it has RAINED. Having experienced so much precipitation lately, in so many places, from fine mist and occasional sprinkle to torrential downpour and being grounded in an airport for four hours waiting for thunderstorms to pass, I’ve had quite a bit of time to reflect on rain.

A rain-influenced recollection took me back to the fifth grade; my two best friends and I sang the following song at our elementary school talent show. We dressed in rain slickers and galoshes and our props were, of course, umbrellas, which were used like canes in a soft shoe, twirled, and open and closed at appropriate times during the performance. In just the right places, cued by the word in the song, we individually held up: a flower, a fish hook and a bottle of India ink.  


If you didn’t have rain
Then you couldn’t have showers
If you didn’t have showers
Then you couldn’t have flowers

There’d be no place to swim
There’d be no babbling brook
There’d be no fish to catch
At the end of a hook

You’d be so awfully dirty
You’d be as black as ink
All day you’d face the barren waste
Looking for a nice cool drink

So you’ve gotta have rain
Every now and then
To make the whole world shine
Then every day will turn out fine

Although I remembered the words—I checked them online to make sure I had them right and found that it was from Captain Kangaroo’s kids show (which I watched regularly)—this version does not have all of the lyrics, however there are enough for you to get the picture… (Contributed by SMazac128 – December 2005). Eydie Gorme also sang it, however I couldn’t find the songwriter.

Rain is precipitation that is liquid, rather than other types of precip like snow, sleet and hail which are non-liquid. In order for rain to form, the following conditions must be present: a thick layer of the atmosphere near and above the Earth’s surface having temperatures above the melting point of water.

“On Earth, it is the condensation of atmospheric water vapor into drops of water heavy enough to fall, often making it to the surface. Two processes, possibly acting together, can lead to air becoming saturated leading to rainfall: cooling the air or adding water vapor to the air. Precipitation forms via collision with other rain drops or ice crystals within a cloud.”

Rain comes down in many ways. Sometimes, as we have seen of late, great gusts of winds precede a storm and then we have thunder and lightning followed by a tumultuous deluge. Winter and spring rains can be downright cold and bone-chilling, making one want to stay inside and drink something hot or sleep in late. While summer showers can be warm and inviting—so that one might run outside and dance about—or even find oneself singing in the rain. Raindrops can vary in size from small spherical droplets to large drops with oval, disc-like shapes.

The earth is lush and turning green and is rejoicing in this deep-rooted soaking; however a few of us gardeners are just a wee bit antsy to get out in our gardens… and patience is a virtue. Think of how the tree roots and the earth are being nourished and deeply watered, how the water table is being restored, and how all living things are being washed clean and renewed. Let’s be thankful for all of this precipitation now, since it will provide us with garden abundance to come.

Refrain from going into the garden when the earth is wet, especially if it is saturated as this will compact the soil and make it harder on the plants. Over-watered plants become starved for oxygen in the root zone. It is best for us to work on household chores; repairing and cleaning tools; pruning, cleaning up and repotting houseplants; seeding flats; creating garden designs, etc. so that when the sun shines and the soil dries out, we will be ready to go and have the time to garden!

Rain is grace; rain is the sky condescending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.          —John Updike

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