Monday, September 3, 2018

When a Kansas drought ends.... really ends.  If you've been wondering where I've been, I've been in Garden Depression-land, with only time to spare on weekends for watering everything that I didn't want to die.  It has been bad between the drought and the winds that took out several trees in my yard, among them my beloved ornamental Red Peach tree.  The only bright-side of my summer has been that I only mowed once from mid-July to late August.  Dry grass is tolerable when the mowee, i.e. me, doesn't have to sit on a roaring lawn mower for several hours each week.  

Two weeks ago, I happened to look in the local newspaper at the weather snapshot, to find out that, as I suspected, around 12+ inches of rain had fallen in Manhattan this year and we were 10+ inches lower than average.  So we had half our normal rainfall and all of our normal hot July temperatures by the middle of August.  I have been collecting weather radar pictures of storms going north and south of us all summer for the purpose of blogging about it, but couldn't bring myself to include you in my depression.  

And then, surprisingly, it started to rain.  Yes, here, in the Flint Hills!  In the past two weeks, we had several 2-3 inch rains that probably totaled 10 inches so I thought we were back on track, although the paper yesterday said that we were still 6 inches behind normal.  I forgot that annual rainfall is a moving target but at least we were catching up.  Suddenly everything is green again and I've had to mow weekly the past two weekends.
But last night the skies fell in!  From midnight to 6 a.m., the rain overwhelmed all my gauges, including the 5" gauge in the front landscaping on the blue hummingbird pole (2nd picture from top) and the 7.5" gauge in the back of the house at the top right. If you can't tell tell from the pictures, both are filled to their rims.   I have no idea how much rain we really had.  The pots with plugged drainage holes, above and to the left, also filled up to their brims, but at that point they were probably splashing out more droplets than were staying in them.  So your guess is as good as mine.  All this water was dumped into what is known as the "Wildcat Creek Basin," flooding an apartment complex, the town soccer fields, and a shopping center on the west side of Manhattan.  We even made the national NBC news tonight!  And now, some chances of rain are forecast 6 days of the next 7.  Can somebody please control the spigot better?

So, I'll try to blog from time-to-time again, since I have a garden and it seems to be green in places.  But I might get caught up in a whole series of new experiences.  For example, this morning, as I walked from the front yard around the house to the back, I was hearing the sound of a waterfall.  Waterfall>? Wait, what?  And then I realized; my neighbor's pond, which doesn't hold water and has been dry all summer, had filled up and was overflowing around the edge.  I, of course, rushed inside immediately to tell Mrs. ProfessorRoush that I had finally gotten her the garden water feature she's been wanting!
Incidentally, I thought about titling this blog entry, "When it rains, it pours."   Too cliche though, right?


  1. Great to hear from you again, Prof. In June and July, all I did was haul hose. The upside was less mowing and the realization that I can't grow so many things in pots anymore. In my Lawrence garden, the past three years have brought short Springs, hotter temps in June and July, and wetter Augusts. Last year, I watered more in October than August. Do you still have the donkeys?

    1. Still got the donkeys; they have the life of leisure here! Still raining here but tomorrow is the last day.

  2. Great news! New Mexico is experiencing the same resurgence in gardening as the monsoon rains fell often and heavily in August. Every green plant is in over-drive to catch up and put our seeds for future survival.

  3. Huzzahs all around for the rain for you guys! I had heard on the radio driving over the the high school the other day you guys got a whopping 8 inches, so I was wondering how you were fairing. It was a wet July and a wetter August here, and right when I drain the pond in the North Courtyard this weekend, it decides to rain for the week after I drain it. So I'll have to drain several more inches when the weekend comes around and I have time to deal with it.

    How has the garden fared? Has it burst into bloom like a desert after a storm?

    1. Seems to have done just that. I haven't been out to inspect closely, but the Crape Myrtle looks good, the pumpkins are madly vining, and the Sweet Clematis is a tower of white.


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