I cannot believe I’m saying this, but I was very happy to be blasted out of bed shortly after 5 a.m. by very loud thunder. When I looked out the window, the rain garden had plenty of puddling in it, so it was doing its job keeping at least some of the rain from running off down the sidewalk and into the overtaxed storm drains.
By 8 a.m., the silver maple had stopped dripping enough that I could walk around and enjoy my second cup of coffee. The hydrangeas looked terrific. Looking more closely, I realized that a month with many more promises of rain than actual rain had taken its toll. The flowers heads are smaller than usual, and the individual flowers are quite a bit smaller, but the green of the leaves was already shifting from that piny, water-stressed blue green to a much brighter and greener green.
I was out deadheading—I tend to deadhead while I am drinking my second cup of coffee. It’s a good way to allow the tasks of the day to get themselves in order while you do something mindless, but the curly bits sticking out from the geraniums, Geranium maculatum—the cranesbills—got my attention.
Here’s what I found.
What a hoot. As the cranesbills dry out, the outside face curls up and flings the seed out of those little cups into the world. That explains how they arrived in my yard—they really did jump ship.
A week ago Saturday, on May 20, I helped sort plants purchased through the Washtenaw County Water Resources Office by people who were putting together rain gardens—like me. The advantage of helping out was that I got to take my order home that day instead of the following one—one more day to plant!
I planted them Sunday. I had done a partial planting last fall, so the plants I picked up just about completed the garden, with the last pieces coming from transplants from other spots in the yard.
The Rain Garden
We had better start with a schematic. You cannot see from one end to the other due to the redbud, so this will keep you oriented.