Scrubbed and washed

High winds shook branches and leaves from the trees, overturned and broke a clay pot, and blew pea-sized hail at the windows last night—for about five minutes. Temperatures dropped as the front blew in, and then we heard the blessed sound of pounding rain—for about five minutes. When all was said and done, it was a 10-minute tempest, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

And yet…I love the way the brief storm scrubbed and washed clean the sky. Sunny blue skies, a cool spring-like breeze, fresh green leaves in the garden, and an additional half-inch in the rain gauge have put a skip in my step today.

All material © 2006-2009 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

23 Responses

  1. kerri says:

    Good for you, Pam! Every little bit helps. Sounds like a ‘tempest in a teapot’. Glad it wasn’t worse.
    We’re in for some nasty winds tomorrow, and we’ve already had a little rain this afternoon. We’re supposed to get an inch overnight. I can see patches of bare ground.
    Meanwhile it’s 50ºF out, and the air smells wonderfully fresh! A little taste of spring, but just a teaser.
    Your photos are so bright and pretty.
    Enjoy that warm, fresh air!

    I’m glad you’re getting a taste of spring, Kerri. We’ll be getting a taste of summer soon. —Pam

  2. Nancy Bond says:

    It certainly looks like the garden isn’t complaining. Ah, I see your blue bottle tree in the background there — no damage, I hope?

    No damage to the bottle tree, though a couple of the live oaks lost a few branches. —Pam

  3. Grace says:

    Here in the Pacific Northwest we have very little rain from the middle of July through early October. When we have that rare spitting from the skies it always cleans things up. My husband calls rain “free water.” I could totally relate to your sentiments although it sounds like the storm came with a vengeance. Here’s hoping you get more rain to drown the dust bowl. The leafy iris, backlit with sunshine looks so refreshing. I’m wondering if that top plant is a red yucca. Hesperloe ??

    The top plant is a ‘Blue Elf’ aloe. It’s cold-tender here, so I keep it in a pot and cover it if a freeze is predicted. —Pam

  4. Jean says:

    That was some storm alright. Kept me up for a good portion of the night. We got about 3/4″ of rain, so I’m also not complaining. The sky in your picture really does look fresh!

    I’m glad you got rain out of it too, Jean. It was a big storm system to reach all the way to Louisiana. —Pam

  5. Brenda Kula says:

    Something nostalgic about the last photo, and the sun behind it. Must be an image from my childhood to evoke such feeling.

    I can see why—irises are such “grandma plants,” and I mean that in the best sense. I love them. —Pam

  6. I love how the pounding rain makes the plants release aromas into the air, suddenly, in a fleeting moment. Have to head on out into the garden quickly to capture the experience……..

    The smell of the rain itself, especially in summer, is such a welcome scent. And the plants do smell good afterward. —Pam

  7. Nancy says:

    We just got a little of the tail end of the line of storms. We had a lot of wind for several hours before, hard enough that I got some flashback from Ike. Not enough rain though. We need a good soaking, two day rain. Then, when the sun comes out, it will be SPRING.. all at once.

    Yes, that’s how it will happen, Nancy. Here’s hoping for that two-day rain. —Pam

  8. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Whoo hooo… don’t you just love it when the hail doesn’t beat anything to shreds and your plants are just all perky with the fresh water douse. Sounds wonderful.

    The storm must have gathered strength as it has blown here all day long and we even had thunderstorms. Wild and windy.

    I hope the wind doesn’t cause any damage in your garden, Lisa. —Pam

  9. S, another Austin Gardener says:

    From the storm I had some tree branches down and some pool furniture in the pool. It was a little scary for about 5 minutes. At our location in the West Lake Hills we have had 1.2 inches over the past week. The rain barrels are full! Today was maybe the most beautiful day this year. :)

    Bless the poor folks in Oklahoma though who had a huge tornado hit just after dark.

    1.2 inches and full rain barrels are a blessing indeed. Here in NW Austin I ended up with 1.3 inches. And I need rain barrels for the new house, but I would need gutters first—argh. —Pam

  10. Sue says:

    I’m glad the storm wasn’t too bad there. I like your photos.

    Thanks, Sue. —Pam

  11. It isn’t our imagination that rain in the Austin area is capricious. The terrain and wind patterns turn every storm into a lottery. Between Twitter reports and news station precipitation maps the totals seemed to be anywhere from under half-an-inch to more than three inches, with wide variation in spots just a mile or so apart. I’m sorry you didn’t get more rain, Pam but it sure is fresh and sparkly out there, isn’t it!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    How much did you get, Annie? —Pam

  12. Jenny says:

    We got the same amount of rain over here 3/4″ Monday and just over 1/2″ last night. Everything is looking perky and growing by the minute. Spring is in the air!

    It sure is. I can see the difference day by day. —Pam

  13. ESP says:

    Hip Hip Hooray! The first weeds have even popped up after the recent rains! A sign of things and springs to come.

    I haven’t cheered over the weeds yet, Philip, but I’ve got ’em too. :-) —Pam

  14. chuck b. says:

    The transformational powers of even a light rain can be quite remarkable, in plants and people both. Here’s hoping for more and more!

    A cleansing rain does freshen up garden and gardener’s mood. —Pam

  15. Robin says:

    My husband is in central Texas for job training. He was telling me earlier about the storm.

    I wish you were here, Robin. It would be fun to meet you. Are you going to Spring Fling? —Pam

  16. Gail says:

    Pam, You’ve painted a very good picture of your storm in my imagination! Today’s photos are crisp and clean and I am crazy about that blue sky! Maybe the recent ‘rains’ are signals the drought is ending! Gail

    That would be nice, Gail. A gardener can hope! —Pam

  17. It rained here on Wednesday and I was thinking of you as the water ran off the frozen snow and into the storm sewers! Not much bare ground for it to soak into, but it did feel like Spring! Glad no serious damage from the storm. We had to have a new roof a couple of years ago as the result of hail damage.

    We’re all getting some spring-like rains, it seems. I hope spring comes quickly to melt away your snow, Linda. We were up to 80 degrees today. Very lovely, but it reminds me that summer will be fast on its heels. —Pam

  18. Frances says:

    Hi Pam, that is exactly the storm we had here too yesterday around 3 PM. Wind over 50 MPH, branches falling and torrential rain, for 10 minutes. Afterwards the air was cleaner, the sun brighter and the colors more brilliant than we have seen in ages. So glad you got that rain for your parched new baby garden.

    I’m glad you got some rain too, Frances, brief though it was. No wind damage in Faire Garden, I hope? —Pam

  19. Makes me wonder how it would be to have a possibility of rain all year… I’ve lived in California for so long, I’ve forgotten how it is to take an umbrella in the summer, or have a rained-out garden party. We’re finally getting some rain, with more to come, we hope… Great pix!

    That is how it feels here too, Renate. Ironically, I carry four umbrellas in my car, though what for, I can’t imagine. Must be my deep-seated optimism! —Pam

  20. All we got was the wind on Tuesday and Wednesday! Ha! ;-)

    Glad to hear that Austin’s gotten a little moisture.

    I’m sorry you didn’t get the rain along with the wind. Bummer! —Pam

  21. Diana Kirby says:

    Wasn’t that something? We got just over an inch of rain between the two days. I am just so grateful for that and all the plants perked up afterward. And lots of the bulbs pushed up further through the mulch. I planted some today and have a few things on hand for the nice days I hope are in our future. And I’ll have your ginger after Tuesday.

    I’m glad you got some good rainfall too, Diana. I’ll email you about picking up the ginger—thanks! —Pam

  22. Aiyana says:

    We had the rain and wind (but no hail) before it blew over to you. Also some very cold nights as the cloud cover left. I also love the way the plants are washed clean and the air is fresh. Doesn’t happen often enough here.

    Nor here either, Aiyana, although this is our best time of year to get that scrubbed-clean feeling. —Pam

  23. We had the storm here too–knocked down a lot of branches and even some large trees.

    Goodness, HG. I hope your garden came through the storm OK. —Pam