If there were two words I thought I would never hear myself use in the same sentence, it would be ‘rain’ and ‘glorious’. For the first 33 years of my life, rain was bad. Cold, wet, miserable. I didn’t have a good word to say about it.
Then, I moved to Australia. And I became a rain worshipper.
I gaze at clouds longingly. I check the forecast multiple times a day. I check likelihood, I check millimetres, I check historicals. I LOVE RAIN!
Surprisingly, in Sydney, we actually get twice the annual rainfall of most parts of England. But we probably need five times the amount. Our sun is strong and it beats down most hours of most days. When rain comes, it really comes, and then we are back to blue skies. The evaporation rate is phenomenal.
Which is why, when we do have rain, I find myself out in the garden, leisurely taking photos. With a big smile on my face. I look in wonderment as the soil turns a rich, dark colour and the moist foliage brings a beautiful glow all around me. I am oblivious to the fact that that I, and my camera, are soaking wet.
I am lucky that I missed the terrible droughts of the noughties. I consider two weeks of cloudless summer skies to be a significant issue. So when the rains hit this week, I was out dancing again!
As I photograph things that catch my eye, I realise how my gardening has evolved over the last, five, Australian years. The most fascinating images were all of drought tolerant plants. Plants that have waxy coverings, to reduce their water loss.
Many of them succulents, which I used to dislike with a passion. But now, one of my favourite plants for pots.
Perhaps succulents have come back into fashion. Displayed in generous, wide, low bowls, they certainly fit today’s style. But I also notice how my likes change to fit the climate I am in – I am unknowingly drawn to the plants that thrive in my garden, however often I move. It is a subconscious change. Something that just happens.
As the rain pours down, I look on in fascination at the beading water. Just lots of teeny tiny water molecules, bound so tightly together and wrapped up in super strong surface tension.
It is the little things in life that are so special.
4 thoughts on “Rain, glorious rain”
Agreed Janna. After 13 years of drought (that started in the mid 1990’s here in Victoria) I vowed I would never hate rain again. It only takes a week of dry hot sun on my reactive clay soil for it to dry and crack – even if it’s well mulched. Last summer 3 days of over 43 degrees left parts of the garden sad and limp and burnt. I sometimes even wonder why I love gardening so much – because our climate does punish our gardens so much here in Australia. Like you Janna, I try to find dry tolerant plants as much as possible – and those that don’t make it are never replaced with the same species. It’s tough gardening in Australia, but the rains and aftermath make up for it (unless of course you live in flood prone areas!). This last week has been great with good rains – not too hard, not top soft – so the garden is slightly damp again.
Yes, we are lucky we don’t have to contend with many 35 degree plus days on the Sydney coast, but frankly I find anything over 30 tough on both me and my plants!
I also worship rain. Its the life blood of our gardens, especially here in Perth WA where I garden. With our increasingly long hot and dry summers I am amassing a collection of eremophilias to beat the droughts. Succulents are also well represented in the garden but I’m sorry Janna, I still dislike pigface. Perhaps its the name!
Pigface is a terrible name, isn’t it? I’m glad I am not the only one to worship rain, although you are making me realise that Sydney gardening is really easy peasy. Canberra was certainly a lot harder. But I do lust after the days when I would bury a scrap of something from my mum’s garden, water it then and there (usually) and then return six months later to find a beautiful, fully grown plant! It’s all relative.