Most of our storm warnings are exaggerated, because they head north to Joplin or south to Ft. Smith and Little Rock. The last dire warnings yielded about 1/4 inch of rain each time.
For that reason I enjoy catching some rainwater off the roof in two large barrels and a small mopbucket. The bucket is handy for taking emergency supplies to the front yard.
If a rose has not leafed out, I do two things:
- Cut each cane by one inch, to prompt more growth.
- Add rain water daily, for extra nitrogen and moisture.
As Jerry Baker suggests (Plants Are Like People), and desert experience verifies, enjoy some water before thirst develops. If a plant is thirsty and drooping, it has already lost some of its energy for transporting nutrients. When we lived in a desert valley, we drank plenty of water before we got thirsty, or we lost energy and even the sense of being thirsty.
Watering not only boosts the plants, especially new ones, but also jives up the soil creatures that depend on water to live. They can go dormant, but that is not the desired state, since they do so much work in helping the plant. Fungi multiply the reach of all the roots, sometimes feeding several plants at once. They transport water and soluble minerals in exchange for carbon.
Rainwater is easy to gather and dispense. I position two barrels and the mopbucket where the back roof drops water (no gutters) . That position can really collect the water during a heavy rain. I use a two quart tea maker (plastic) to dip water out of the the barrels.
Gardeners want to avoid pest and disease damage. Healthy soil means healthy plants that shake off damage.