Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"It Raineth Every Day," Wm. Shakespeare

Tropical Storm Debby
Our wet season has started early and furiously!

May's 30-year average rainfall for Jacksonville is 3.48"--we received 10.58".

June's 30-year average is 5.37" and it is the start of our five-month wet season (and hurricane season). So far we've had 21.25" with 12.5" in the last three days from Tropical Storm Debby. (This is the first time since they started keeping records of named storms that there have been four before July.)

The weather forecasters originally plotted Debby's path to go westward toward Texas, but she did not listen to their predictions and just sat there in the Gulf of Mexico for days and days. Finally, she turned east rumbled her way across northern Florida. Fortunately, she did not bring too much wind (except for a few tornadoes), but so much water has caused flooding, sinkholes, and slumping of whole roadbeds.

A swale in a neighbor's yard allows stormwater to soak in, but this swale would be more effective if the turf was replaced with rain garden plants.
As gardeners we must make adjustments and plan for better drainage to absorb future storms.
I've written extensively about rain gardens and I'm happy to say that ours have worked well. I'm especially pleased with our expanded downspout rain garden with its built-in drainage to a drywell. We all need to make more effort to keep as much of our rainwater on our properties as possible. It's better for our aquifers, which did not recharge enough after three years of drought, and it's better for our waterways, because any stormwater that travels across lawns, driveways, and roads will be carrying an excess nutrient load and various other pollutants.

For more details, see my article We All Live in a Watershed! that I wrote for Blog Action Day 2010 on The Florida Native Plant Society's blog.

Other rain-related problems or events: 
The squash plants are not doing well with the constant rain. Yes, they need plenty of water, but their leaves need to dry out between the rains.

Since the rains have stopped, the butterflies, wasps and bees have been thick on our native flowers, the beggars' ticks (Bidens alba) in particular.

From "The Twelfth Night" by Wm. Shakespeare:
The clown ends the play with a song including these two verses:
When that I was and a little tiny boy,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
A foolish thing was but a toy,
For the rain it raineth every day.
For the rain, it raineth every day.
A great while ago the world begun,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
But that's all one, our play is done,
And we'll strive to please you every day.

And so we gardeners carry on the best we can given the hand that Mother Nature hands to us. I hope that you are safe after the storm.

Green Gardening Matters,
Ginny Stibolt


  1. Great job!!! Love your website, will promote at The Back Ten Feet facebook page.

    Thanks so much for promoting KEEPING water on your site, so important and for promoting native plants.