Wet Feet in Winter
Today was a combination of rain, sleet, and snow. The rain garden is half filled with slushy water. I gaze at this planted puddle and think about all of the plants that are said to not like wet feet in the winter. I’m hoping that the plants I’ve put in this garden don’t mind such conditions because their socks and shoes are swampy for the duration.
The perennials and shrubs I chose for this area should tolerate the periodic flooding rain gardens receive year round: winterberry holly, red twig dogwood, and two types of Juncus predominate in this garden.. I think the Juncus conglomeratus might be dead, but it serves me right for installing a zone 7 plant in a warm zone 6 garden. The shorter rush plants, Juncus effuses, still look alive and beautiful; they will make a good combination with the red twig dogwoods when they are all larger.
Whenever I see a plant description that says “doesn’t like winter wet feet.” I always think, “Who does?” being wet and cold does not sound pleasant for people either. It makes me think about how experienced gardeners pay attention to matching plants to the environment where they are to grow. Many plants would rot in a rain garden, while others, like the red twig dogwood I planted (Cornus alba ‘Bailhalo’ ), thrive in these conditions.
People also have particular likes and dislikes when it comes to where they are planted. One person loves the city, another will only flourish in farmland or deep woods. This man likes his house extremely tidy, while that one appreciates a happily rumpled interior. I like to write on a laptop, sitting in a chair next to windows because the natural light is important to me. Others might want a firm chair, a desk and a lamp.
Just as gardeners strive to match the right plant for every location, we also need to identify the surroundings where we function best. Which type of garden feeds your soul? What environment helps you to do good work? And when we can’t change where we are growing, how can we still flourish and bloom?