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Posted: July 23, 2013 7:08 p.m.

Travis: Hydrangeas, gardeners rejoice

This has been the wettest spring and early summer that I can remember. Or maybe it just seems so because we had gone previously through about five years of drought.

For the past four years it has been so dry that I took to watching the Weather Channel and looking for a hurricane that would not cause too much damage but would track right over Covington and dump lots of rain on us. A hurricane never came.

I don’t know what you call this weather we are having now, but rain we have.

Someone told me that we have had 150 percent of the normal amount of rain that we should have through the middle of July and that if it doesn’t rain again until the middle of September, we will still be at normal rain amounts.

Somehow, I don’t think that it will hold off raining until the middle of September. I believe we will end the year with above-average amounts of rain. This is fine with me.

I am sure that painters, landscapers and others who need dry weather to complete their jobs are not happy, but I, personally, am just fine with the wet weather.

I have not had to spend four to six hours a week watering my shrubbery. That is time and money saved. The lovely rain does not charge me for its beneficial water for my plants; the city of Covington does.

It’s nice to hear that lake levels are at or near average. It’s nice to not see photos of boats and docks stranded on local lakes.

Even the talk about who owns the water in the Chattahoochee has died down, as the river has so much water this year that there is enough to go around.

I planted four hydrangeas in the spring four or five years ago, just in time for the drought. Hydrangeas love water as their name implies. One died, one has flourished and the other two have remained just as small as when I purchased them.

I watered them faithfully as much as the city would allow. They would have a pitiful three flowers and were not as high as my knee.

This year they are happy, happy, happy and might have grown above my knee.

My husband has had a banner year with tomatoes. I have frozen over a dozen quarts of stewed tomatoes already. His squash did not fare as well in the damp. But the blackberries and plums were plentiful. I have made more cobblers this year than I think I have in about 10 years.

My husband has had to mow the lawn more often. Last year, he got by with mowing it every two to three weeks. This year, if he can find a time when it is dry enough to mow, he really needs to mow once a week.

The rain and clouds have kept the temperatures down. Again that fact is good for my pocketbook. My house has high ceilings and usually stays cool.

But nothing keeps cool when the temperature is near 100 in the daytime and doesn’t cool down to below 80 at night. So far, knock on wood, my air conditioner is not running constantly.

I plant impatiens in pots near my driveway under a large oak tree. They have to be in pots because the oak tree’s roots soak up all the water.

At least once a year I have to empty the pots and cut the tree roots that have grown up in the pots to get the water that I usually spray on them when the city of Covington lets me water.

This year they are larger and taller in July than I can ever remember them being at the end of the summer. I don’t think I have ever seen the impatiens so happy. Even my sister commented on what a nice sight they made when we turned into my driveway.

And that is something because she is not a plant person and does not garden.

Yes, it would be ideal if we had exactly the right amount of rain and sunshine. But that rarely, if ever, is going to happen.

So if I have to make a choice between this summer’s weather and last summer’s, I am happy with what we have this year.

Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be reached at ptravis@covnews.com.

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