Watering in the Rain



“I need to water the garden before it rains!”: I know this sounds ridiculous (it looks even sillier) but rushing to wet the garden before storm-clouds break is surprisingly necessary if you garden, as I do, in containers.

The fact is that rain is pretty ineffective when it comes to quenching generously packed pots. A dense canopy of foliage is perfectly designed to divert raindrops over the sides of the container and onto the ground, rather than down onto parched roots. Pots placed against a wall or under trees suffer the double whammy of occupying a rain shadow. Hence watering, whether it be with a can or hose, is an unavoidable chore, even during spells of cool or wet weather.



This week has been a case in point. It’s rained every day, occasionally heavily. At 3.30am on Wednesday morning I could be found in underpants, a padded jacket and ancient trainers rescuing my plants from the eye of Storm Aileen. Picture that if you’re brave enough. I was saturated; the plants evidently were not, for, by Thursday evening they were drier than the bottom of a birdcage, parched and wilting, even after another squally shower.

Now that the nights are drawing in I don’t see my garden in the daylight most days, which means watering in the dark. This is not an exact science and prone to making one’s feet wet, but water I must for the Rain Man alone will not sustain my garden through the autumn. TFG.