Rain, glorious rain

Star jasmine pod water droplets

Water collects on a star jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum) pod

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.

Cyperus papyrus in the rain

Cyperus papyrus during a downpour

Then, I moved to Australia.  And I became a rain worshipper.

Ayres Rock Janna Schreier

The very dry Uluru (Ayres Rock), during our trip to the Northern Territory in July 2012

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!

Droplet of water held on Abutilon flower

Droplet of water held by an Abutilon flower

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.

Banksia 'Birthday Candles' holding water droplets

Banksia ‘Birthday Candles’ early flower buds repel water

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.

Shiny, wet, cane Begonia

The glossy, wet leaves of a cane Begonia

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!

Ixora petals full of water

Little pools of water collect in these Ixora petals

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.

Aeonium centre perfectly dry in the rain

The centre of this Aeonium keeps perfectly dry in the pouring rain

Many of them succulents, which I used to dislike with a passion.  But now, one of my favourite plants for pots.

Raindrops on Pigface

Pigface (Carpobrotus), one of the plants I used to hate and now love

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.

Agapanthus 'Guilfoyle' in the rain

Agapanthus ‘Guilfoyle’ sparkling in the rain

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.

Package of water in Sedum - strong surface tension

A perfect, minuscule package of water sits in these Sedum leaves; the amazing power of surface tension

It is the little things in life that are so special.

Fallen Brugmansia flowers after the rain

I even forgive the rain for doing this to my Brugmansia flowers – it must be love!

4 thoughts on “Rain, glorious rain

  1. Adriana says:

    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.

  2. Suzanne says:

    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!

    • jannaschreier says:

      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.

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