Who’ll Stop The Rain? (From Knocking Over My Plants)

When I got up this morning, after a night of wind and rain, this is what I saw (note: as Judy is travelling, I took all the pictures in this post with my phone):

Sweet Joe Pye Weed
Sweet Joe Pye Weed after having rather too much to drink.

Is it really possible that just one year ago we were desperate for rain around here? It has been a rainy spring, including some impressive thunderstorms today and yesterday. And the verbatim weather forecast from AccuWeather.com for our area is as follows:

  • Wednesday: A few strong thunderstorms.
  • Thursday: A shower or thunderstorm.
  • Friday: A shower or thunderstorm possible.
  • Saturday: The chance for a couple of showers or thunderstorms.
  • Sunday: A shower or thunderstorm possible.

Who knew there were so many ways to say: “We think it is going to rain.”

Of course, we haven’t suffered from catastrophic flooding as some have, so my complaints are pretty minor in the big scheme of things. And for the most part all this rain is making the plants pretty happy.

However, some of my tall plants are literally keeling over from the force and weight of all this water. Most notably, the Sweet Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum), Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), and Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum).

Swamp Milkweed
Swamp Milkweed going from vertical to diagonal to outright horizontal.

I’ve already done a fair amount of staking, so the damage could be worse.

In any case, I spent a couple of hours this morning restoring plants to verticality where the staking was incomplete or inadequate. This I do mostly in two ways. First, by tying together bamboo stakes into an X shape placed so as to hold plants up without making them look too constrained.

The really big babies, the Sweet Joe Pye Weed and Cup Plant, get staked with twine to 10′ lengths of rebar. The rebar is pretty well hidden once these guys reach their full height. I had already put up some of the rebar last week, this morning I put in the rest.

By the time I was done, things were looking reasonably upright.

Swamp Milkweed, Sweet Joe Pye Weed
An upright attitude restored (pretty much)

Have you also been thinking of the old Creedence Clearwater Revival song, wondering just who will stop the rain? Any emergency staking going on in your garden?

Tomorrow I am heading to San Francisco for my first Garden Bloggers’ Fling, looking forward to meeting some of you there!

49 Comments on “Who’ll Stop The Rain? (From Knocking Over My Plants)”

  1. It’s a tedious task – I’ve been doing some staking too. My last peonies needed re-staking, and the asters and achillea are getting too leggy after the damp spring we had! I like to use canes that have adjustable rings attached to them.Look forward to hearing about the “Fling”…. sounds intriguing!

  2. Sorry to hear about all your rain! We’ve had a bit on/off – typical British weather. Enjoy SF! Can’t wait to hear all about it 🙂 p.s. all my photos are iPhone lately, just too much to capture and record so phone is easier, still not actually got round to posting anything though!!!!

  3. Oh you just reminded me I still haven’t put any stake to my 30 tomato plants and I’m already eating tomatoes… It is totally emergency in that front!!!
    Here after a very rainy and chilly spring plants are easily suffering of drought, I wonder when (or better: IF) this weather will ever settle into seasons…

  4. We’re getting similiar weather here. Since I’m not good at staking and don’t have quite enough sun, I don’t grow many tall perennials so have had minimal problems with collapse. Enjoy the fling. Last week was my get together with online garden friends (two who are also attending the blogger fling) and it was a blast.

  5. Hope you enjoy the Garden Bloggers’ Fling. I’m in NC and I wish I’d gone last year when it was in Asheville but didn’t understand exactly what it was at the time. Our forecasts looks similar to yours and there have been falling trees around us from storms this summer, but mostly the rain has helped prolong the blooming period in my garden. It’s always a mixed bag I suppose.

  6. Have a nice trip for the fling. I am sure you will supply us with all the important information gained there. The spring started here with lots of rain. It was just too much. I was cursing the rain then. But, for last one week or more there have been no rain and the plants are drooping and thirsty. I am raking up my water bill feeding them. I desperately need some rain now. Send them here 🙂

  7. Staking is a major job round here, which I do early in spring before the plants grow to high. For a while the peasticks (if you don’t know, peasticks are bits of winter pruning retained for staking later in the season – usually used to prop up peas) look like my beds are growing dead bits of wood, but the biggies soon overtake them. As you know we have a lot of rain, some of it heavy and without staking my garden would be a mess.

  8. Although we’ve escaped most of the weeks (months?) of rain to the south and west of us, we’ve been having heavy thundershowers for the past few days. It does make it easy to see which plants haven’t been given adequate support. Now I just need a little dry weather to get out and take care of them.

  9. Enjoy the fling! I’m very jealous! This morning we got several inches of rain within a couple of hours. The street down the way was flooded, basements filled with water, trees toppled, and electrical boxes were nearly topped with water. Fortunately, I live on a hill, so no flooding. The plants look OK, too, if a little soaked and top-heavy. I am a bit worried about the large Oaks in the backyard, though. The local meteorologist said we’ve had a normal summer’s worth of rain in five days! But, like you, I’m not complaining because the drought was oh, so much worse. Have a great trip! I’ll look forward to the photos and the posts!

  10. I feel your pain Jason. We’ve had to stake a few things here as well, and have lots of hail-damaged foliage from a storm a few weeks ago. We’ve been spared flooding too, thankfully.

    Have a wonderful time at the fling. I haven’t been to one since Chicago, in 2009. It was a very memorable experience, and I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time in San Francisco! Looking forward to hearing all about it.

  11. Yes, it stops raining! 🙂
    we had a wet and rainy spring and too cold and very windy! But now, it seems the sun will be shining for the next few days! My roses would like to flower but they are still waiting for the sun! And we, people, have almost a shortage of vit.
    Only the Thalictrum Elin need some staking, they are now more than 2 meter tall 😉
    You have a nice time at Fling, I read your latest blog of your trip to San Francisco 🙂
    ps I was and still am a fan of CCR

  12. Hi Jason, gosh, you’ve had a lot of rain. It brings back memories of the wet summer we had here last year when we were all initially told to plant drought tolerant plants, only to have them sitting in wet soil all summer long. Hope things improve and your plants pick themselves up again.

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