May Rain

crazy rain (11)We have had an astonishing amount of rain in the past three weeks. Steady and generous rain. Lately that rain has been accompanied by very warm temperatures.  Timing is everything-as someone once said.  I am watching what regular spring rain and a little heat is meaning to my plants. All of my evergreens, shrubs and perennials are putting on a lot of weight.  I am delighted with the look.  It is no news that every living thing needs water to survive. You, me, the trees, and the planet. Some plants need next to no water-that would be the succulents on the roof of the Vatican that have been there hundreds of years,  they get vastly less than 3 inches of rain a year. Some need regular water and boggy conditions-as in Louisiana iris. All those plants in the middle of this spectrum, in my area, are soaking wet, and growing happy.

crazy rain (5)Water from the hose, or an irrigation system, is nothing like water from the sky. I have no science whatsoever to back up this assertion, but I believe that water from the sky is like no other water.  Water from the sky is imbued and super charged with life. This natural water makes everything explode with growth.   A rainy spring day is great for the garden in my zone.

crazy rain (2)Every plant in my garden is going shoulder to shoulder, given the steady rain.  No fertilizer at work here.  Just good soil that gets a top dressing of ground hardwood bark mulch once in a while, and steady rain. Not every spring is like this. Dry springs make for plants with a much more lean silhouette. Dry springs make every plant look needy.  My plants look ready to to talk to me.

crazy rain (3)This rhododendron is closing in on 30 years old.  It is blooming profusely this year.  I credit the regular spring rain. I do nothing to look after it, except to pinch off the dead flower heads. Just outside my home office window, it is a delight. This late May explosion of form and color is a delight.

crazy rain (6)The ivy growing across my side door steps has been there for 30 years as well, but is looking particularly lush this year.

crazy rain (9)The beech ferns and European ginger have decided to come on.  I was worried that our extremely cold winter would do them in-but not so.  They were slow to show, until the rains came.

crazy rain (18)The Princeton Gold maples are in full and glorious leaf.  Each leaf is bigger than my hand.  All of the yews are sending forth their new growth. The fountain garden is dominated by lime green, in various shapes and forms. As busy as I am, all this spring lime is arresting, and compelling.

crazy rain (13)The boxwoods have begun to grow.  The late afternoon light pictures that growth as another shade of lime.  Hellebores just planted last summer are sending up new leaves. This is a spring view of my garden that gives me so much pleasure.

May 27, 2015 (20)The clematis on the bench have grown by leaps and bounds. The buds are coming on strong. They are starting to lean on my moss cow, Lady Miss Bunny, for support. The pachysandra is loaded with limey green spring growth.  Milo’s path through it is obvious.  When the new growth hardens off, his tracks will recede.

crazy rain (16)When I see plants in my garden growing lustily, I am thrilled. I have gardened long enough to know that I am a second tier provider to my garden.  Nature calls the shots.  And I am well aware than nature bats last.

crazy rain (12)Buck and I sit here every night, after work.  We have nothing to look at in the way of roses.  This past winter finished all of the last of them off.  But every night I look at that space, and try to imagine what might be. But behind us, the boxwood is responding to all of the rain. We have a dialogue going on.  Spring talk-every gardener understands this.

crazy rain (15)The May rain we have had has my garden bursting at the seams. Nature at its most helpful and benign makes me look good. I have a lush garden life right now. For this, I am grateful. My spring could have been very different from this. Nature has her own agenda. She takes no direction. Nature is a wild force that knows no bounds.

crazy rain (7)Though my garden is as green and growing as it could possibly be, I think about people, farmers, and gardeners in California who are suffering from terrible drought. Would that I could FedEx them some of my spring rain. The people in Texas enduring devastating flooding from heavy rains-terrible.  Texas has a long history of flooding, but who cares about the history?  Any person in Texas whose house has been swept away by too heavy spring rains-I feel terrible for their loss and anguish. We have had rain that sustains.  This is my report, for my vicinity.  As for the rain that nature delivers-rain in one place is a gift. Mad and unrelenting rain somewhere else could be a disaster.

crazy rain (8)The spring water from the sky can be good.  Too much water from the sky can destroy lives. Nature is not a friendly force. Nature has her own schedule. Never mind any of us. She does not call for a meeting, before she delivers her water. Her water can be a steady fall over a number of hours.  Or it could be a deluge in minutes.  That water could sustain life.  Or it could wash away lives.

crazy rain (10)I am thinking about rain right now. There is no easy answer. Generous rain endows every garden. Torrential rains can be so distructive.   Nature is a very, very, and more very a wild card. Gardeners know this.



  1. Hela cook says

    WOW! Deborah your garden looks outstanding! I truly appreciate your sense of appreciation for the rain you have received and empathy for those who have not. You can tell you garden is filled with great design, hard work and love. May I ask, what did you use for as the edging material in the fourth to the last picture? I have not seen this before. It’s quite lovely.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Hela, the edging is just raw steel, which has rusted. Thanks, Deborah

    • Thanks for asking Hela because I was wondering about that edging too. If you search Deb’s site using the word “edging” you will find more pictures and details on this edging material. I found one where she says: ” The steel platform for my English concrete pot is new this year. The 1/4 inch hot rolled, pickled and oiled steel is still that blue- grey color. It will not take long to rust up, and turn brown.” Looks like Buck custom makes her edging, lucky girl!
      I would love to have some of this edging for a verge I’m doing around A 60 year old larch tree.

      • Deborah Silver says

        Nella, I love my steel edging-it is wide enough that at least 4″ of it is below ground. Best, Deborah

      • Hi Nella,

        I have been trying to avoid the typical metal edging or ( heaven forbid) ‘plastic’ edging- and not only have I not seen the steel edging Deborah uses- but also, the way she uses it- up on an edge.m it’s very interesting. I did find w product called ‘rawedge’ raw steel edging. But it is hard to source. Am apprehensive about ordering sheets if not rolled steel and cutting them.

        • Thanks for the “rawedge” tip. I’ve been working with a landscaper in search for commercial grade steel landscape edging. I’ve learned that 1/4″ steel edging is 3 times as heavy as 14 gauge steel edging, the typical stuff you find a Home Depot/Lowes. Web info indicates that Col-Met and Sure-Loc are two manufacturers of commercial grade steel edging.

  2. Holly Badger says

    I am a recent subscriber and I want to thank you for mentioning our horrific drought here in California. I live in south Orange County. Indeed, every drop of water is precious to us as we endure yet another year of deficit rain. I truly enjoy reading your posts and seeing the pictures of all that you and your staff do so amazingly with plants. I am envious, but in a good way!

  3. Janet Grant says

    You are poetic,Deborah and always philosophical- I so enjoy your prose. And oh those white white begonias!
    Janet Grant

  4. Just beautiful. And we Californians thank you for thinking of us. Spring does talk to a gardener, and funny how the talk quiets in turn. We are moving into summer here, and suddenly I feel no urge to plant anything. In fact, these next three weeks are my favorite of the year, leading up to the summer solstice. Everything burgeons now.

  5. Great post, Deborah. Your gardens are looking so lush and beautiful. That new, abundant spring growth warms a gardener’s heart. Enjoy it!

  6. Linda Gardner says

    If only we here in central PA could share a bit of your rain. Your garden is just beautiful and lush with Spring’s new growth. Nature sometimes can be very stingy with her gifts and other times too generous. Our Texas brothers need our prayers. I always enjoy your posts

  7. Your lush green garden is beautiful !!!!!! It says Classic to me. I wish I could have a lush green garden but I live in Eastern North Carolina with a lot of heat. My garden is mostly sunny. I planted turf grass last fall and I think it is not going to survive the heat. I wanted a grass that is green year round. Any suggestions?

  8. Your posts are always looked forward to.. Your photos along with your words are why I visit regularly.

    Everyone should take a moment to reflect on the beauty around us. It is all a fleeting moment….



  9. I remember from my Master Gardener classes that rainfall is full of Nitrogen! Just what your plants need to green up. It’s like getting free fertilizer from the sky!!!

  10. Yes indeed , I would be thrilled with one inch of rain. Though we are accustomed to no rain June-ish through Oct-ish , a dry Feb-March-April -May is no bueno. I am redeemed right now by the early appearance of ‘June Gloom’ our marine layer mornings and sunny mild afternoons. ETO is still low. Rain is still wished for.

  11. You’ve got such a nice pink spot on the second picture above. Is this a rhododendron?

  12. Kathleen says

    Deborah, This is my first post I have received. Thank you for remembering the devastation in Texas, and needs in California. So awful, nature and people suffering, lives lost. Here in MN the rains have also been a wonderful gift for new growth. Enjoyed your photos, beautiful gardens, greenery, lush surroundings. I am lifted & filled with an overwhelmimg sense of thankfulness, awe, & appreciation for all the glorious new green life, the opportunity to create as I plant containers, and get my hands in the dirt. I feel fulfilled surrounded by the spring greenery, closer to God, and have a sense of caring, nurturing toward these gifts, plants, flowers, shrubs, etc. Lifting prayers for those who are not experiencing this glory at this time.

  13. Erin Bailey says

    Hi Deborah,

    In the northeast of Iowa we have had much rain– no floods at present but my daffodils are showing signs of rot and my iris is blooming, but some of the buds are dk brown and soggy. And this is on sandy soil! But the grass is lush and the weeds plentiful. I am very glad that your rain has not been to harm of your garden plants. And I too wish we could send some west– it is personal to me because of following a blogger in CA who has had to decide what plants would have to go from her garden in order to meet the challenge of lowering her water usage by 30%. I know that that is not as critical as the need to drink and wash, but to a fellow gardener it somehow makes the hurt felt deeply across the miles.

  14. Your garden is beautiful this year. Not that it wasn’t last year but, that was last year.

  15. Did you say you worked as a painter Deborah? That must have been a painter of words! Your description of rain working wonders took me back to Indian Monsoons, when the earth just explodes with greenery. I appreciate it all the more these days as we, in California, are in the fourth year of drought. Beautiful post, beautiful work and a truly lovely blog. Thank you for bringing this to us.

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