Hurricanes and Tropical Storms-The September Rains!


Well this is the season…Right now we are getting the deluge of rain, but not the wind, from Hurricane Isaac here in NJ. We in Southern NJ have been in a drought like most of the country and now, of course, this is just too much rain at one time.

While we are not in a flood plain, we are the last property down a slight grade form the others. When we moved here 17 years ago Sept. 6th, we had a house surrounded by river muck, or so it seemed. With over 600 tons of sand, gravel and top soil, and more in cu. ft. of mulches, we achieved a decent landscaping soil. Additional material such as broken concrete enabled us to make front drainage areas and a dry well in back. As I always say,” I am environmentally challenged here.” (…Not to speak of the bad crosswinds, Northeasters across the farm field, but we are NOT in WY where it is worse…)

The only unresolved place is the water off the high-crown roadway in front coming into our driveway during very heavy rains. We do have a ‘Rain Garden’ in front and most goes there. There are bald cypress trees, river birches, and water-loving perennials there for that. Ostrich ferns are on the other side of the driveway and do love it there.

With my antique tractor, I previously regraded parts and had contractors come twice to do the heavy-duty stuff. The raising of the sidewalks to raise the grade was done early-on with bricks. It handles the job well even after all these years.

The last area to add more drainage will come this fall when the garage foundation is partially broken up. (I always find a place for the rubble here!) While the driveway of gravel and topped with pea gravel is really wet, we can dig a nice pit on the carriage turn to dump all that rubble in it. Originally, the driveway was 2-feet lower than now so you can just imagine how many dump trucks came.

I even use the rubble of cinderblocks and concrete pieces at the bottom of the perennial bed where it is low on one side. You need to be careful that the acid loving plants are not put near the lime-leaching concrete pieces. The bed is good for other perennials like Irises that like the lime.

Actually the ‘September Rains’ here in NJ are the weather patterns of more rain vs. no rain that come after Sept. 10th. We are the northernmost area for fall planting. It is a better time to plant shrubs and trees than spring. In the spring we plant, get drought, and lose many of them. Not that many ‘seasonal’ gardeners take advantage of this time period. But we year-around gardeners, know that it is the prime time for dividing perennials like peonies, daylilies, irises, and hostas.

We took a break on Sat. and added wood to the fire pit, had some BBQ chicken, baked beans with BBQ red bell peppers and onions…but ate inside later due to the heat. I like the fire pit as we don’t have to clean up much like for a grill. That was perfect as Mon. and today the monsoons came.

That is what we have been doing for 2 weeks now until the rainy Labor Day and we’ll be doing more after the rain stops. Then it is LEAF time for Glenn and I go on vacation in October while he works to fill up our bins. We will have leaf mulch to add to the compost drum next spring.

Some of the hostas near the Lost Lke ready for division this Sept.

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