Saturday, March 29, 2008

Rain and thunderstorms

I still haven't replaced the rain gauge by the main vegetable garden, but the birdbaths serve as crude measures of how much rain we've had. They're full right now, hooray! It's been dry the last couple of weeks, and the afternoon warmth has pulled additional moisture out of plants and soil.

But this morning, a big front is pushing through with lots of thunderstorm activity, and is periodically pelting down raindrops, alternating with light drizzle. I just looked at the U.S. drought monitor yesterday -- it's predicting continuing drought with improvement (compared to last year, anything is improvement). But I don't think non-outdoors-oriented people are paying attention to how the prolonged drought is affecting plants, not only in our gardens, but in natural plant communities.

My gardening companion, on a botanizing trip yesterday to get photos, reported that Steven's Creek and Savannah River Bluffs (two SC Heritage Reserve sites) were wonderful, with lots of spring wildflowers in bloom. He said, however, that Heggie's Rock, an interesting granite outcrop area protected by The Nature Conservancy, had been dramatically affected by the ongoing drought, and that the unusual plants there, adapted for the unique circumstances of the empheral pools that are characteristic of these plant communities, were barely evident, and there were many indications of drought-induced die-back in the vegetation. This is troubling for a plant community adapted to seasonal drought. Hopefully, today's rain will pass through that area as well.

1 comment:

  1. I hope you get a good, soaking rain. We could use some here too. We've had a few light dustings of snow and quite a few brief hailstorms, but the soil is already quite dry in places in the yard. The snow melt has already dried up. Forest fires are always a very big concern here so I often find myself praying for rain.

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