When trees come in handy

There used to be a beach here at this Lake Ontario park, but the water is now up to the lawn. That’s Toronto really small on the horizon.

In our part of the world (and a lot of other places), the weather news has been simple: pouring rain, day in and day out. It just started to let up over the weekend. Rain is supposed to be good news for gardeners, but you’d never know it from the complaints I’m seeing on Facebook: “Still raining, but at least it’s cold” was a recent status from one of my favorite local gardeners. From others, I hear that their backyards are under water and their basements are flooding. More seriously, local rivers, streams, and lakes (of which we have many) are also overflowing, burying docks and other structures on private and public property.

No weather news is good news for everybody. Water, thank goodness, is usually good news for me, though, because of a couple factors. Our house is on higher ground and it is surrounded by maple trees, complete with water-absorbing roots. I am usually cursing these trees when I am trying to get plants or bulbs into the ground or during dry spells, but their presence is helpful now. There are no unplanned ponds in the garden and no waterlogged plants; instead, perennials are quickly emerging. The additional moisture must be helping the three new hydrangeas I planted last fall.

Weather extremes are the norm now. Climate change analysis suggests that heavier storms are the result of slower jet streams creating more long-lasting storms. Planting more trees might seem to be a solution to flooding and poor drainage, but then, with really bad storms, those are more trees in danger of toppling and creating even worse damage. I’m thankful for mine—for now.

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Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regular radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world, and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at yahoo.com