Into each life a little rain must fall... or a monsoon!
If necessity is the mother of invention, then 10" of rain in the month of September necessitated a rain garden! What's a rain garden?
So much rain fell during the month that virtually all outdoor building activities ground to a halt. In addition, the rain (much of it heavy downpours) washed huge amounts of soil from the construction zone and into the new parking lot and driveway. The mud was almost a foot deep in places. And there the water stood, slowly seeping into the ground. We needed a long-term solution that would manage stormwater in a responsible, eco-friendly way.... a rain garden!
Our rain garden is being built by simply
Repairing and re-grading those areas damaged by the heavy rain (completed), and
Removing soil in the low areas where water tended to gather (completed), and
Planting the graded areas and resulting depression with water-loving native plants (soon).
Step 1 - Prepare the area
We graded the heavily-damaged areas to collect and direct rainwater toward the garden. Straw was then put down as a temporary measure to protect the area. These areas will be further protected from erosion using a jute blanket held down with biodegradable stakes. We will then plant native grasses and perennials to slow the flow of water and stabilize the soil.
Step 2 - Dig the garden
We removed soil from the low areas, creating a depression up to 12" deep in spots. The deeper areas will be planted with species that can withstand standing water for longer periods of time.
Below are some pictures of the excavated site:
Step 3 - Plant the entire area (garden, and swale if necessary)
There will be a few trees, many native shrubs, and hundreds of plugs of native grasses and perennials.
Here is our plant list for the rain garden:
3 - Betula nigra - River Birch
1 - Nyssa Sylvatica- Black Gum
7 - Cephalanthus - Button Bush
11- Ilex Winter Red - Winterberry Holly
2 - Ilex Southern Gentlemen - male Winterberry Holly
8 - Itea 'Henry’s Garnet'
6 - Cornus sericea 'Arctic Sun'
50 - Juncus effuses - Soft Rush
50 - Lobelia cardinalis - Cardinal Flower
50 - Iris versicolor - Blue Flag Iris
Here is our plant list for the graded areas (plugs):
400 - Little Blue Stem 'Standing Ovation'
200 - Echinacea purpura
200 - Liatris spicata
Here we have laid out the plants and are in the process of planting them.
More pictures of planting plugs. The plugs come in trays of 50 or 72, and you can see they have well-developed root systems just ready to take off. The orange tools are "dibbles", used for making plug-sized holes in the ground. If the ground is soft the holes are easy to make - just place the dibble point where you want a hole and push the tool into the ground with your foot. If the ground is dry and/or compacted, creating holes is much more difficult. You must rock the dibble back and forth while pressing down with your foot.
Step 4 - Sit back and watch your rain garden thrive!
Here are some pictures of the finished rain garden before and after a recent rain - and snow! The plants are loving the water, they will do great in their new home. Come visit Sundogs and see our new rain garden!