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Draining the garden

August 4, 2017
By H.I. JEAN SHIELDS ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Garden drainage is a full-time problem nowadays. Tall floating pentas and galliardia are not happy. The small flowering garden beds which should be full of color until the end of September are just not going to last at all if they are swimming. The torrential rains we are having fill up the low spots and show no mercy in draining slowly.

A garden with poor drainage is always at risk. It is too late now to be proactive.

An area of landscape with standing water for 24 hours, after a rain storm, proves inadequate drainage. The same goes for gallons of water pouring down daily even though it may drain off at night. Plants will show signs of stress and die quickly or soon start to show leaf drop, root rot or even fungal problems.

House gutters pour out a massive amount of storm waters and may not be extended out from the house wall enough. Another means of drainage would be to build a French drain. That is not a short, easy job for the regular gardener.

Make sure your pool overflow does not drain into plants. I did have that problem one time. My not so plant friendly husband figured that out for me.

The easiest thing is to just plant water friendly plants in water friendly soil.

A tall plant would be the canna lily. It does not really need to be planted in a damp place and with sprinklers nearby, and our rainy summers, they seem happy.

Louisiana iris is a beautiful flower, and likes to grow in any low, wet spot it can find.

We may not have this much rain next summer so you do not need to go all out and build raised beds. That might be a good idea if you are changing a lot of things around in the garden and you would like to be busy in the garden without having to do so on bended knees. Not to worry, you know where your real low spots are now and a good idea what kind of flowers you need to find to enjoy a low wet spot.

You do need to understand that next summer may be a drought time and not a flood time. Mother Nature is a fickle lady and she and the weatherman are not that friendly.

Watch out for mosquitoes. I smacked a really large black one the other afternoon. Two days without rain and there he/she was.

I seem to always be wearing sunscreen during cloudy days this year, however it is necessary.

Happy gardening, wet and dry, till we meet again.

H.I. Jean Shields is Past President of the Garden Club of Cape Coral.



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