In the Northeast we seem to be caught in a perpetual shower. The days are gray with light peaking through irregularly never long enough to dry a single plant. We have not had a sunny day for the last 10 days nor are we forecasted to have one for the next 10. I continue to wait for an outbreak of a major fungal disease in my garden but so far nothing on that front has emerged.
The caterpillars and slugs rejoice in the weather. The slugs are being kept at bay with liberal doses of iron phosphate, though the survivors have become squat snakes coming out during the day rather than keeping to themselves in the evening. Gypsy moth caterpillars have taken hold this year. They stripped one of the rose bushes last week and I continue to find them throughout the grounds. Other caterpillars have joined them in the garden; every day a hand picking takes a dozen or so out of the mix but many more are missed by my eye. The rain prevents me from spraying soap or Neem on my plants so the greens must fight the good fight on their own. They increase in size a bit every day because of the rain and shrink because of their consumption. New leaves are whole for a small time; soon they are holed. The single advantage of the low light levels is that it has kept down bolting; only the kale is obliging and self-seeding itself.
The larger leaves catch caterpillar poop, small little black dots that remind me of mouse droppings though smaller. The rain continues to clean the leaves so they always look clean though mottled and increasingly transparent. Garden chores are manically attempted between the time it stops raining and dries out enough to work in the garden and then the next drenching. We must empty the rain gauge every other day.
The constant moisture has given our garden a lushness that we have not seen in the past. My sister-in-law, Rosana, calls our yard, ‘Jurassic Garden,’ as all the plants have grown to sizes we rarely experienced. The hosta garden was thin in early June as I divided many of the resident plants last fall; now it seems as if nothing had ever been removed. Our herbaceous back border is filled with towering astilbes and ostrich/royal ferns. The foxgloves have again self-seeded on the hillside coving up formerly barren rock creating a mosaic of blue, white, yellow and pink spikes.
This is our lot this year.