Wet Weather Gardening

Rain, they say, is good for the garden. But it sometimes feels as though we’ve had too much of a good thing. Nobody wants to be stuck indoors for days watching their garden becoming progressively more untidy. So, we’re looking at wet weather gardening ideas to keep your green fingers out of mischief.

Wet weather gardening gear

If you’re planning on going outside to attempt some of your gardening jobs, you need to be properly protected against wet weather. Even if it’s not actually raining, surfaces can be slippery and so a stout pair of gardening shoes are advisable. For those quick trips to the greenhouse or shed, a pair of lightweight waterproof shoes will suffice - check out the range in your local garden centre, the colours are amazing!

A waterproof coat is a must for wet weather gardening. Even if it’s not actually raining, it’s always handy to have one hanging in the shed in case of sudden showers. And don’t forget a hat. A good, water repellent hat will enable you to work outside in almost any weather. If you are really determined to be gardening in all weathers - just as many professional gardeners do, it’s well worth investing in a pair of waterproof trousers.

Lightweight gardening shoes

Pay attention to soil conditions

Treading on wet ground can result in soil compaction which can make it more difficult for plants to thrive. If you must step on your lawn or on beds and borders, lay some planks to walk on. They will distribute your weight and protect the soil.

Avoid jobs such as lawn mowing or digging, you’ll make more of a mess than you clear up. But you can make your garden look less bedraggled with some simple ‘tidying up’ jobs.

Outdoor wet weather gardening jobs

If you are happy to brave the damp conditions, there are plenty of outdoor wet weather gardening jobs you can do. Be very careful though. First and foremost, you must keep yourself safe. Avoid slippery surfaces and don’t even think about using electric or battery-operated tools.

Depending on the time of year, here are some wet weather gardening jobs to enjoy.

  • Clear out the shed and take any rubbish to the tip
  • Turn the compost heap
  • Move wooden garden furniture under cover, allow it to dry completely and then apply timber treatments
  • Scrub plastic or rattan furniture so that it’s sparkling clean
  • Pop ceramic ‘feet’ underneath planters to allow them to drain freely. Your garden centre will likely have a good selection for you to choose from
  • Deadhead bedraggled plants
  • Create a log pile and add shelters for wildlife such as hedgehogs and birds
  • Trim lawn edges. Standing on planks will distribute your weight and give you a straight edge to work to.
  • Service your lawn mower and sharpen the blades
  • Buy fertilisers and lawn feeds ready to apply on a sunny day

Wet weather gardening jobs for indoors

There are lots of gardening jobs that can be done either in the shed, the greenhouse or indoors in your nice warm kitchen.

Houseplants will appreciate a gentle wipe with a damp microfibre cloth. Use a cotton bud or a soft paintbrush to disperse dust from all those creases and crevices. You can trim off any dead or diseased foliage and then give them a nice drink of freshly harvested rainwater. If your houseplants are ready for a feed, either add it to their water or treat them to a slow release fertiliser applicator from the garden centre. In spring, you may want to re-pot your houseplants to give their roots more room to grow. Spread lots of old newspaper over your kitchen table to contain the mess and it will be easy to clean up after you’ve finished.

Feeding houseplants

Plan which seeds to sow to give you food and flowers for next season. Most garden centres will have a great selection and staff there will be happy to advise.

Treat yourself to a trip to the garden centre for some inspiration. Once you’ve braved the dash between the car park and the building, you’ll be glad you left the house. Seasonal displays of furniture, seeds, plants and planters will soon spark lots of ideas in your brain. And a visit to the cafe will lift your mood.

Plant up some colourful containers to cheer your soul on drab days. The magic formula for designing container gardens is to have a ‘thriller’, a ‘filler’ and a ‘spiller’. In other words, one plant to act as the focal point, perhaps something that has a dramatic shape or a bold colour. This will be your thriller. Your ‘filler’ will likely be lower growing with a bit of spread to it so that it covers the soil. Finally, your ‘spiller’ with have its roots in the container and its leaves tumbling over the side to soften the edges. In awful weather, smaller planters can be prepared in the shelter of your shed and then positioned in the garden when you’re ready.

Here are some tips on how to get creative with colour. https://nationalgardengiftvouc...

What to do if your garden is perpetually wet

A few days or weeks of rain won’t necessarily mean that your garden will be soggy all year round. But for some people, a wet garden is a problem for long periods of the year. Compacted soils, dodgy drainage or even natural springs create a garden microclimate that can’t be corrected by doing a few odd jobs around the place.

If you have a soggy garden, you can design and build features that celebrate the damp conditions. Or you can attempt to identify and fix the root cause of the problem.

Perhaps you could build raised paths and decks to help you navigate your garden without getting wet feet. There are many plants that enjoy having wet feet and most of them are incredibly interesting. Ask a garden designer to help you make the most of your outdoor space.

Poor drainage usually needs help from a professional. A good landscaper will be able to help you to redirect excess water away from your lawns and borders. It might mean having some construction work done in your garden but if that means that wet weather gardening becomes more pleasurable for you, then it could be worth the investment.

Click here for a list of garden designers and landscapers who can help you improve your wet garden. https://www.landscaper.org.uk/