Rain Garden Update
In particular, SSB and I have been working on the rain garden. We finally tracked down our contract which was approved two months ago but the DNR guy neglected to give to us. As our neighbor says, "Never trust the government."
What exactly is a rain garden? The idea of a rain garden is to make a place for the water that falls on your property to collect and be used up by plants rather than running into the storm drains. Rain gardens normally use native plants since they are the best adapted to your property's particular conditions. I really liked that idea and took it as a challenge. My plan is to take a garden that can look rather boring
that uses plants that can look rather weedy
both pictures from www.urbanwaterquality.org
and make it appealing to the average homeowner.
We were given a design for the garden which looked very much like the design you see in the first picture above. I'm not too big on all these doughnut or kidney shaped rain gardens. Every rain garden that was on the demonstration list we were given was either doughnut or kidney shaped - OR BOTH! They just end up looking so unnatural and boring; whereas I prefer more natural looking layouts with some excitement. -And spirals, apparently, as the design that I came up with will be the second spiral garden on our property.
This is a "Before". I already started a garden here that I had been expanding over the years. At least 2/3 of the material in the garden needed to be removed (I gave them all new homes).
Here we have begun the lay out. I like to study a site for a while, then just start digging. The site will guide me as to the shape the garden should be. It's more divining than designing.
Most of the rain garden guides that I read mentioned an option for over-flow. They suggested a drain of some kind. I decided that, since the whole purpose of the garden was to keep water from draining off my property into our river, a holding pit made more sense. This pit will house the marshier plants that we purchased. It is the spirally part of the garden.
There is SSB watering the plants that we just purchased and laid out in the design. We purchased small plants so we could afford to get more of them, and they tend to transplant better when they are small. These should fill in nicely in a couple of months.
Here you can see the river idea that I was going for. The basin will be filled in with layers of sand, pea gravel, and progressively larger rocks once the plants are dug in. Right now, the rocks are serving to keep the plant pots from tipping over while we lay them out.
Are you ready for the dramatic Before & After?
Nice change, huh? Some of the plants in this picture were ones left from the original bed. They were either wildflower volunteers (like buttercups, goldenrod and daisies) or they were wildflowers that I had planted there myself. SSB and I did all the design ourselves and we did almost all the work too (the DNR guy helped dig for about an hour one day).
We still have a little more to do, but I think we might reach my goal of having it done by July 4th!