The Coast News Group
Small Talk

Plants get thrown for a loop by wet weather

I am a woman of the world. I have coped with rain and weather, but in truth, I’m out of the habit.
Still, it’s not me I’m concerned about. It’s the very confused plants in my yard. They are in a quandary, a tizzy, a thorough puzzlement. They have, during the past several years, become accustomed to a particular sort of neglect. They know I will ignore them for weeks at a time until I notice one or more are wilted and about to expire from dehydration. Then I drop everything and water them thoroughly. Between times, if the wind is right, they sometimes catch a little moisture from the not-very-well-placed sprinkler system. That was our understanding and they have generally thrived.
Suddenly this year, we are soaked. Drenched. So much water, I discovered I had some pots and some beds that don’t actually drain that well. Who knew? Suddenly, the smell of stagnant water and mildew has popped up and neither my plants nor I know quite what to do. That is, on a short list of things I am willing to do, none seem quite right. The list only includes: 1. Water 2. Prune 3. Ignore plant for another couple of weeks.
I did have a lovely moment venting some irritation, when I got to fiercely jab and punch holes in the bottom of several planters with a sharp object to aid drainage. That’s always refreshing when it’s something you are supposed to do, rather than simply done in a fit of pique. Not that this ever stops me.
Meanwhile, my plants are exhibiting symptoms new to both of us. How do you make a plant less wet? Heretofore, that has been the sun’s job and I’m just a bit peeved it is so obviously slacking. And if my plants have any thoughts of being hauled under the overhang or, heaven forfend, brought inside, they’d best get over it.
I suppose I ought to give them the bad news that the initial contract is still in place. It goes something like this. First, I go to the store and buy them and lug them home. I add lovely bagged soil, fertilizer and, generally, a fetching pot. I try to place them in a spot that will give them the sun called for on the magic tag attached. Then they are pretty much on their own until, as mentioned above, they wilt.
Dealing with lots of dampness is something you have to accommodate way back when you pot them, with gravel or sand and whatnot. I’ve been a little negligent in that arena and the mold is now ratting me out.
I am afraid that, like when the frost hit a few winters ago, it is just going to be every plant for itself. We’re thinning the herd and letting natural selection run its course. It’s a bit harsh, but there you are.
I’ll have a look around in, oh say, April, to see who has made the cut. Before I head off to the nursery to replace the fatalities, I’m going to need to consult my Farmer’s Almanac. If this inconvenient wet weather plans to continue for another year, I expect I will have to create a Plant Plan B.
Right now, water lilies are looking pretty good.