Kiss The Rain

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow quipped, “The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain.”

Well, duh.

The weight of such a statement was lost on me until this growing season. It rained. And rained. And rained. And rained some more. Plains flooded. States received record season rainfall within a days time. Mosquitoes flourished and I had to develop a "let it rain" attitude. Quickly.

Daylily season for me is what baseball season or hunting season is to others. My season (remember, I garden in Michigan) starts for me when the ground peeks out from under the snow about April, when I start to clear away winter debris, and if I can get them out of the frozen ground, repair and replace plant identification tags. From inside, I stare at the barren beds dreaming of what is to come when the temperatures get above freezing. During the winter months, I spend an inordinate amount of time planning what activities I will add to my gardening calendar alongside the time I need to spend in my own gardens. Needless to say, it is a short season for me so I take each day by the neck and squeeze gardening out of it until the sun sets.

The American Hemerocallis Society offers many meetings, symposiums and tours throughout the season, and many local groups also organize their own tours. There are about 60 accredited exhibition shows around the country and too many daylily plant sales to count. I made my way to many of them this year, and Longfellow's words haunted me every step of the way.

  • I experienced record rainfall in Florida while touring with the AHS National Convention in May. At some points, the rain water in the gardens was above my ankles.

  • It rained the night before the June exhibition show in Illinois.

  • It rained buckets while I toured Ohio gardens during Northern Mecca July 4th weekend.

  • It rained the first day of tours at the Region 2 Summer Meeting in Chicago.

  • It rained the afternoon of the July exhibition show in Michigan.

  • It rained on two days I was supposed to tour local gardens and cancelled my excursions.

this is my right foot splashing in a tour garden in Florida

It rained. A lot.

Rain upsets some folks. It messes up their hair, gets clothes wet and makes some people smell funny. It ruins flowers, cancels picnics and closes carnivals. Until this sweet summer season, the rain (excluding a soothing daytime thunderstorm) used to upset me. I embraced it this year. I even danced in it a time or two. It felt great. It reminded me of a time in college when a few roommates and I spontaneously ran outside during a warm Florida rainstorm and splashed around in the parking lot of our little run-down-should-not-have-been-allowed-for-human-occupation complex. (I think I still have those pics somewhere...)

My point is, when did we become too crotchety to enjoy a cleansing shower from a gray sky?

H. 'Sweet Tranquility'

This year, on more than one (or four) occasions, I chose to "do a Longfellow" and enjoy it. I should do that more often.

Frank Smith's H. 'Orchids and Gold'



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