September Storm Slaps Summer Silly

Well, now we don’t have to worry about how we’re going to root prune this thing next spring!

Though we’d probably all like to think of ourselves as record breakers, there’s little comfort in breaking weather records.  Portland put one into the books this month as we closed September off with over 6 inches of rain, that for a month that historically averages an inch and a half.  And, as if Mother Nature wanted to put an exclamation point on her watery statement, the final 2.5″ fell in the last three days of the month.  For all my 20+ years out here, my constant boast has been, “September is our finest summer month.”  No longer.  This year I witnessed the summer screech to a halt mid-month and a January-like rain come and “set a spell” over fair Portlandia.  We North Westerners are pretty stout when it comes to tolerating rain, but, please Mother Nature, don’t deny us the little reliable sun that is our due!

This potted fig tree went down in a strong wind that accompanied said rain.  Now rooftop gardening is indeed a business that must contend with wind, but usually the strongest winds come in winter, when things like fig trees are not in full leaf, and the gusts can whistle through  bare branches.  Here the leaves were sails and the pot was, well…history.  The irony of the season was that until now we really had enjoyed a wonderful summer for growing.  Not that it was exceptionally hot, but it was warmer than usual at night, and that, for example, made our sometimes dicey tomato crop roll in early and often.  Never have I seen such a fine fig summer either, and the very tree you see splayed on the rooftop had put forth such a crop of fat, juicy, black figs like no year in the rooftop garden’s history.  Somewhat marvelously, Noble Rot chef Leather Storrs noted that there were indeed only three figs still on the tree that had not yet ripened, so I guess we didn’t lose much, yet after a summer of seeing nature as nursemaid, it is hard to suddenly have to accept her also as vandal.

Please, I hope someone from Colorado isn’t reading this right now and thinking that I’m some kind of attention seeker who doesn’t even have a clue as to what real rain and real damage is.  I know that many of our compatriots around the country bear up under much more punishment from the weather than we do.  Still, one does build a life around the set point of climate, and when it goes too far awry so can our sense of the garden, or any place, really, as a stable, reliable place to do business. All I know is that I’m hoping for some substantial sun in October to close out accounts, get the garden ready for winter, and return a bit of normalcy to the end of the season.

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