Too Wet to Garden?

In theory it should never be too wet to garden in New Zealand. Water is a part of us all, our gardens need water, and our temperatures are rarely extreme. Rain is positively welcomed in the Moosey garden - or is it? Why is it then that gardening activities grind to a grumpy halt when it rains?

 New Patio Wisteria.
Too Wet

New Zealand is renowned for its outdoor clothing. There are, for example, goretex parkas of every shape and weight. So surely a gardener could dress appropriately for the rain - gumboots, thermal legs in the latest dry fabric, body warm in a breathable vest, etc.

Summer Rain

Some New Zealand cities, for example Auckland, are rumoured to get rain every day in summer. I can't see all the Auckland gardeners becoming house-bound, even if the magazines portray them as a bunch of minimalist courtyard dwellers and brazier burners. So they must garden in the wet, and relax on watery patios with their favourite gardening magazine...

 Oops - this gardening magazine is drenched!
Wet Patio

The biggest problem with the rain lies in the gardener's personal habits. If, like me, you enjoy a quick return to the kitchen to make a rewarding cup of tea, then you are in wet-weather trouble. It's not the moisture, you see, but the attendant mud - on knees, trousers, shirt sleeves, ready to ruin carpet and couch.

Wet Weather Gardening

Wet weather gardening becomes muddy gardening because many older gardeners like to get close and personal with their patches of dirt. We sit with our feet in the border, we kneel, crawl along to a new position, and sometimes recline at full length to get at a weed. We're not being spiritual and cosmic - it's simply easier to stay down there than be hopping up all the time like a young thing at an aerobics steps class.

 Some plants, like this Euphorbia, hold raindrops beautifully.
Wet Euphorbia

I wish I could order in the type of rain I want. It would be warm and windless. It would fall overnight, or on days when I had non-gardening commitments. It would be vertical. It would be strong enough to make a difference, and there'd always be strong sunshine and beautiful fat rainbows to follow. My tomatoes would love it, and show their gratitude by actually producing fruit.

The reality is somewhat different. O well, I'd better get changed out of these muddy clothes...


It's surprising how few photographs one takes of wet gardening - or is it?