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SHARING SECRETS: The Rain To The Wind Said, ‘You Push And I'll Pelt.'

Edited by Cathy Tylka, for Let’s Talk Plants! February 2024.

WiX stock photo.

This month’s question -

When and if the rain comes, what is your plan of attack for your yard?

And, if it gets really cold, and your plans are endangered, what’s the plan? But if you have no plan for preparation what is your after-frost plan?

“The rain to the wind said, ‘You push and I'll pelt.' They so smote the garden bed That the flowers actually knelt, And lay lodged--though not dead. I know how the flowers felt.” ― Robert Frost

Ida Rigby, of 92064 proclaims…

… We are ready for any rains. The dry creek bed drains water from the back of the garden, around the house and into the front when/if there is excessive water.


Frost is another story. In our canyon in Poway, we get half a dozen frosts a year, usually starting in early December. This year the first (and quite hard) frosts were last week, a month later than usual.


There are only two vulnerable plants.


One is an unnamed succulent I purchased at Buena Creek Gardens years ago. It propagates itself with little platelets that grow on the leaves. I planted it under the calamondin (chosen for its frost tolerance) to protect it, but that’s not enough cover, so I install a cloth and peek in whenever I want to see the flowers.


The second vulnerable plant is the Turk’s Cap mallow. I like it because it grows well in dry shade with nothing other than seasonal watering. It also takes sun. A lovely stand is along the fence (or at least was) in the parking lot at Buena Creek Gardens. Yes, the first frost toasted it. There are four valiant flowers. I’ll just leave it until after the last frost, cut it back, and it will fill in beautifully.


Mary “Klibs” Dralle suggests…

…If it rains, as many of my plants are in pots with saucers, I remove them from the saucer so that they do not sit in water. We are not allowed to collect rainwater where I live so I do my best to place buckets to collect at least some rainwater!

 And if it gets cold, and depending on the plant, I use row cover and place it on it the evening and take it off after sun rises. 

Petrichor (/ˈpɛtrɪˌkɔːr/)[1] is the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil. The word is constructed from Ancient Greek πέτρα (pétra) 'rock', or πέτρος (pétros) 'stone', and ἰχώρ (ikhṓr), the ethereal fluid that is the blood of the gods in Greek mythology. - from Wikipedia


Gerald D. Stewart of 92084 responded…

…When it rains my plan is to not be in the yard. It's as simple as that. When it isn't raining, I plan to keep up with weed control because the tenth of an inch "rain" pattern has germinated a lot of seeds; clearing an area so I can set-up a new shredder chipper in preparation for taking down some trees too big for their locations; and potting up plants recently acquired for the colorfully foliaged plant collection. One last definite: get a bareroot Satsuma plum and plant it--it's the last of the fruit trees not yet planted in the various orchard locations. It will be nice to know that the planned thirty-two trees are all finally in place, to provide year-round home-ripened fruit.


With chagrin, Karen England of 92084 admits to…

…having no plans. My garden fends for itself. I am always amazed in every season at what survives in my garden and deeply grateful for the bounty it provides, but I can take no credit for its ability to roll with the climate punches.

I love this picture from a few years ago, of my Vista, CA. garden of twenty-four years. It looks like this every spring and fall. Can you imagine how lush it would be if I fertilized or watered regularly? My garden helper must tell the most outlandish sounding stories about his nutty "Patron" who likes weeds to his compadres.


And Cathy Tylka of 92026, relates…

…Weed, weed, weed, while they’re small and I can do it!


If it gets too cold, some ends of plants will die. Leave the dead ends on until they fall off, and this protects the rest of the plant.



Question for next month…

Now that it has rained, plants and flowers are growing, weeds are being pulled out. What is your next step as the beginning of spring is coming to your garden?


Cathy Tylka, RN, retired Emergency Nurse, found her love of plants and the SDHS merge many years ago. Cathy acted as Treasurer for the organization and volunteers for many activities. Now, she is more than happy to assist in gathering questions to ask you in the Sharing Secrets area of the Newsletter.


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