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The Flâneur Husband and I went up to the garden Friday afternoon after work, and this is what met us:

Flooded Garden

Our summerhouse had more or less turned into a moated castle, only without the crenelated towers and the drawbridge. The latter would have been useful, since we were both in our city shoes… Mine were leather, so I traversed the lawn with difficulty and returned – wearing my wellies – with a pair of clogs for the Flâneur Husband so he wouldn’t have to wreck his suede (NOT blue) shoes.

The neighbours told us that on Thursday the area had 80mm of rain, which is a lot more rain than falls in the average month of July, and since this has been a wet summer the ground was saturated and there was no other way this could have turned out.

Merged Puddles

Needless to say The Puddles were hard to spot, since they had merged with the lawn in that corner of the garden to form a Great Lake – or at least a garden version thereof.

I was somewhat annoyed with this, as this was not what we had expected to see on that sunny afternoon, but the Flâneur Husband seemed absolutely put out by it and very worried about whether it would damage any plants and how long it would take to subside. I, on the other hand, have seen flooding like this in the garden several times the first year we had the garden – before we had the drain installed – so I was pretty sure the plants would stand up to it with no problems, but still…

The - wet - Sunny Border

My poor dahlias were standing in 3 inches of water, and I’m pretty sure dahlias aren’t naturally aquatic plants…

Still, after some food and a glass of wine – and the turning-on of the drain pump to pump water out into the stream behind the house – the mood lifted and we had a lovely evening after all, taking advantage of the photo-op to take some pictures of how flâneurs deal with a flood:

Flâneur Husband

Flâneur Husband

Flâneur Gardener

Flâneur Gardener

-A glass of Chardonnay and a leisurely stroll through the garden, even if it had to be in 3 inches of water! And yes, I like to don some tweed in the garden from time to time as the picture shows.

The next morning, though, the lake had all but vanished from our plot. The Puddles were still merged into a single pond-sized puddle, but the lawn was visible and the ground was generally just boggy and wet, rather than flooded.

Boggy Garden

It was a sight for sore eyes to wake up to a garden where wellies wasn’t de rigeur, and even the dahlias were now on dry (i.e. boggy) ground:

Dahlias on dry ground

The upside to this flooding is that hoards of slugs seem to have drowned in the water; sadly, though, loads of earth worms also perished.

Today, Sunday, the garden looks wonderful – and dry! The Flâneur Husband mowed most of the lawn today before heading back to town, and Idid the rest this afternoon. There’s laundry drying in the sun, a mild wind is keeping the temperature in the sun bearable and I’ve put away the tweeds in favour of a pair of swimming trunks and a chair in the sunny courtyard.

Mowed lawn

(I might not air my dirty laundry in public, but I don’t mind putting my clean laundry on the Internet!)

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>Drainage Dreams


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Flooded lawn

Here’s a quick update on the drainage plans…

Just over a week ago we had a contractor coming up to have a look at the garden so he could make a price estimate for establishing drainage under the lawn. Well, on Thursday he called me with an estimate that is more or less within the budget and that covers what we want/need.

It’ll be a simple project, really; two strings that run from the lowest corner of the lawn around either side of the house to a pumping well behind the annex, from which we can then pump surplus water out into the stream. Each perforated drain pipe will lie in a trench of gravel, so the drain will have a much larger holding capacity than just the pipes themselves, and hopefully that means that a lot of the water will be able to seep into the ground, rather than having to be pumped out into the stream and end up in the fjord.

On top of the gravel trenches with the drain pipes will be a layer of landscape fabric, covered with the top layer of soil where the lawn will be re-established. To cut costs we’ve agreed that he won’t re-establish the lawn, so once he’s done we will have a scarred and battered lawn that will need re-sowing over all the trenches and wherever the digging machine has ruined the grass.

It won’t be too expensive, but it won’t exactly be cheap, either. On the other hand, we’re talking about a trench of over 100 meters in total, so we will get a lot for our money. An added benefit is that the soil from the trenches will not be removed but instead be placed wherever we would like it, so that means we can create slightly raised beds around the problem areas so the perennial borders will be more or less guaranteed never to flood, regardless of the volume of downpour.

Now we just need to find out when he can do it; we would like it done as soon as possible, but of course the frost needs to be entirely gone for this winter and the ground needs to be moderately dry, so it’s not easy to guess when it will be done. Hopefully, though, it is not unrealistic to hope for it do be in place before Easter so we can spend the Easter break planting and sowing.

I really look forward to getting this done.

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