Saturday morning, two of my sons-in-law stood on my deck complimenting my "hige, healthy, lush" tomato plants while I smiled proudly. Two hours later, the thunderstorm from hell hit. It must have been right on top of us as the thunder and lightning struck in unison. Strong winds blowing out of the south suddenly switched direction and seemed to come out of the north. Then everything just went haywire and the rain seemed to be pounding on every window in the house at the same time. A few well-leafed limbs and dozens of less healthy twigs and large branches of mistletoe began to accumulate in the front yard.
Hours later, as the rain eased to a drizzle, I rushed to check the tall and tender tomato plants, with their first little green offerings. I was crushed but not nearly so much as they were...bent, eben broken and lying over the rims of their pots. I carefully lifted their sad branches back into place and tied them with twill tape from my sewing stash. As I lifted and untangled and straightened and tied, I spoke soothing words with all the reassurance a mother gives to a wounded toddler. Of course, that was the exact time my husband walked onto the deck and asked who I was talking to. I'm sure he expected that he had caught me talking to myself again but I was quick to answer that I was talking to the plants. That didn't seem to surprise him in the least. He just said, "Oh", and continued on his way.
I felt pretty good about my rescue efforts and was greatly relieved to see the tied plants standing tall this morning. Then I felt equally distraught as the clouds rolled in a couple hours later. I knew that if we had the winds again, the plants would just bend over and break at the places where they were tied. The only idea I could come up with was to wrap them in something...but what. Then I thought of shirts. Of course! They would even button closed and I had a couple in my rag-bag waiting for me to cut the buttons off. (I'm glad my husband didn't overhear me explaining to the tomato plants why I was dressing them in old shirts - ha!)
Well, the rain. So did the lightning and thunder but the winds didn't. Still, we have storms continuing in the forecast for the next couple of days so I will leave the shirts in place until the weather clears. I'll post a note after that to let you know how dressing the tomato plants worked out.