Thunder and rain at last

It was almost 10pm on Sunday 27 July, and I was out in a sleeveless top watering the Preston Circus Planters. Warm nights have been an unusual feature of the weather in South East England for the past few weeks. It was muggy, but the ground was very dry and the plants were suffering. It was hard work trying to get moisture into the planters.

I needn’t have worried. At 6am on Monday 28 July, I was woken by the usual call of seagulls and then the unusual patter of heavy rain against the window. Shortly after, like mortar shelling which is a sadly familiar sound from the news bulletins these days, the thunder started, cracking the sky open. I couldn’t see the spectacular lightening and in the east of Brighton, we weren’t battered by the hailstones which dramatically hit Hove. The rain fell heavily for around three hours and then again in the afternoon – what a relief for us, but there was disruptive flash flooding for those further to the West.

Our water butts in the edible plot were again starting to run dry. The plants today look refreshed, and the atmosphere is now light and airy with blue sky and sunshine. My bolted lettuces collapsed in the storm and I haven’t yet checked the station garden, but apart from obliging us to lift plants from their water-filled trays and saucers, the rain has been a real blessing.

As plants have quickly blossomed with the sun and warmth, we may need to think about replacing some in our ornamental planters. This is probably the moment to do it – while there is still moisture in the soil. We’ll be out in the station garden this afternoon and then down at Preston Circus to do general maintenance on the planters there. A moment perhaps to get in some more geraniums?

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