Monday, April 11, 2011

Rain, Snow, and Sunshine

It seems to me that only gardeners or meteorologists keep up with rainfall totals.  If I start talking to anyone else about the amount of rain (or lack of) that we have received for the year, the temperatures, or the stress of the weather conditions on plant or animal, it is usually met with a blank stare.

Photo borrowed with permission - copyright reserved (KBH)

The weather has traditionally been a topic of safe conversation with new acquaintances.  No more, it seems.  With heating and air conditioning, indoor work, personal transportation (with heating or cooling), and so many people staying indoors after their working hours, the general public (IMHO) has become immune to the changes in the weather.  They don't have to suffer hours, days, or weeks of unbearably hot weather.  The snow is pushed aside for them to journey to their jobs without worry.  Hasn't rained for weeks?  Didn't notice.  As long as the sprinkler system keeps working, and the garden guy keeps showing up, they are oblivious.  At least, this is how it appears to me.

Gardeners, however, are always aware of the slightest change in weather patterns.  We know if the plants are suffering from lack of rainfall.  We worry about a late freeze.  We record the first freeze of the season, and whether it was later or earlier than normal.  Because our garden's life revolves around the weather, our lives seem to also revolve around the weather.  Talk to a gardener, and you can have a very long conversation on the simplest subject - the weather.

People around me have started asking me about the weather.  They know that I watch the rainfall totals.  They just have to ask and I will let them know if we are in or out of a drought.  If it snowed the last two years (yes, unusually).  How much, and usually why (hurricane or cold front) we received rain.  We were expecting a large amount of much needed rain last night.  I woke up, not to thunderstorms as expected, but to the sun shining.  Such disappointment!  Most people would see a beautiful day.  I only saw missing rain.

Mr. Holleygarden has looked extensively for historical records of rainfall totals, to no avail.  If you know where to get historical records for a certain area, please let me know.  I have started keeping records for about a year.  I have now publicized that record in a new page on my blog, and will update it monthly.  Since this is a garden blog, and the weather is such a big part of the success or failure of my garden, I feel it deserves its own special page.

Want to know if someone you just met is a gardener?  Ask them about the weather.  Then see if they know a little more than it just being hot (or cold) from their office to their car.  Want a long conversation with a garden blogger?  Ask them how many pictures have a hose in them!


  1. Holley, I totally agree with you since I have my own garden I pay much more attention to the weather. I like that gardening is connecting me more to the natural forces that rule our life even though we might not be aware of them so much anymore. It is a great idea to keep a rainfall record on your blog!
    By the way I love the photo with the red rose and the birdbath. Would you be so kind and let me know what rose variety that is? Thanks!

  2. I don't keep formal records, BUT I do pay attention to what the weather is or is not doing out my windows and how right the weather guesser is on the t.v. Hmmm, I have a lot of photos with gardening hoses in them, lol.

  3. Holley, it's so true--gardeners get really passionate when they start talking about weather. It is not the superficial topic we were always told it was! Your rain page is a great idea--sorry you didn't get any to add to it last night. :/

  4. Hilarious, the weather, UKs favourite topic. We greet people on the street not with a hello or good morning but with a, nice day, think we may be in for a little rain or, feels like snow.

  5. Christina - You put it so well - gardening connects us to the natural forces. The rose is going to surprise you - double Knockout.

    Darla - The weather guesser on tv - I start to think they know, then it's completely different. Perhaps weather prediction is something we will never master.

    Stacy - Now I know why people always used to talk about the weather - it ruled their lives! Yes, gardeners can get as passionate about the weather as they do any plant!

    Alistair - That is very interesting. Maybe that's why they have such a reputation for being great gardeners - they're in touch with the weather!

  6. Farmers, you forgot farmers.

    The information Mr. HolleyG seeks can be found here:


  7. Nell Jean - yes, farmers. They pay more attention than anyone! NOAA only publishes their records back one year, as far as I can tell. Am I doing something wrong? I imagine it's because of space, but we would like to see rainfall totals going back decades.

  8. Nell Jean - I think I found it. NOAA has some publications for purchase. I just had to poke around a little more. Thank you!

  9. Yes, I think gardeners are meteorologist wannabes and vice-versa! The weather has been cruel here lately. From highs in the 40s to the 80s in a couple of days, and then back into the 40s for another stretch of cold. Argh.

  10. You are right, HolleyGarden. I went from working in an office to working in a garden and actually noticed that seasons change:). Gardening has taught me a lot about weather and seasons and climate, but just not patience yet:)

  11. How true that most gardeners closely monitor and are updated with the weather! Links for local and national weather stations are on the top of my computer bookmarks, as well as on my cellphone. But gardening and the weather go hand in hand, you'll have to play with whatever the weather throws at you. :-)

  12. PlantPostings - The weather has been very strange lately. The plants must be wondering what to do!

    Masha - Gardening does make you very much aware of the seasons. Patience is a whole 'nother topic!

    Mark and Gaz - "have to play with whatever the weather throws at you" - how true! Sometimes that's not so easy to do, either!

  13. has records if you dig for them. Go to forecast, extended forecast, all 15 days. You should see a calendar that you can scroll back for historical data. Obviously put in your location. I just tried a copy and paste to excel and that worked. George

  14. George - Thanks so much for the info. I appreciate it!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...