Tuesday, February 26, 2008



• Rain Gardens can be almost any size-limited only by time and cost.
• Any rain garden will give some storm water runoff control.
• The size will often be determined by how deep the rain garden will be, and the soil type you find there.
• The rain garden should be about 1/3rd the size of the area it is serving. For example a roof area of 200 square feet would need a 70 square foot garden.
• A typical rain garden is 3-8 inches deep.
• Anything less than that would need much more surface area to be effective.

Gardener's Supply Company

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Location, Location, Location

Now that the decision has been made to do a Rain Garden, where should it be placed? You must assess the conditions in you own yard to determine the most appropriate place.

• Remember that rain gardens are meant to handle average storms, not major downpours.
• At least 10 feet from the foundation. You don't need water seeping into the foundation!
• Try locating it so it can catch the rainwater from a downspout, sump pump outlet, driveway, patio sidewalks or other impervious surfaces, then the water will go to the rain garden rather than the street and straight into the nearest lake or river!
• NOT over the septic system, wells or underground utilities
• NOT where water puddles. That would indicate poor drainage. You want this water to be able to infiltrate into the ground. Perhaps down slope from the puddle. (Water should remain in the rain garden for just a few hours. This is important for both plants and to foil mosquitoes.)
• If you do have poor infiltration, make the depression shallow to reduce the water trapped there. If your soils suck water up, make your garden deeper to increase it's storage capacity.
• This down slope should be no more than 12%.
• It's better to be in the sun rather than under a tree.
• Put it where you can enjoy the flowers, scents and birds, etc.
• Try tucking rain gardens downhill from the edges of your yard near wet areas. Try to put them in places where they don't interfere with other garden uses.
• Aim for a natural depression.
• The garden should be perpendicular to the flow of the runoff.
Dutch Gardens, Inc.

Friday, February 22, 2008


A rain garden is NOT a pond! They are not designed to hold water permanently. An effective rain garden depends on water infiltrating into the soil of the garden. They are actually miniature temporary wetlands planted with native plants.
A rain garden is an attractive, low maintenance landscaping feature planted with perennial native plants naturally adapted to wet conditions. It allows plants, bacteria, and soils to clean the water as it seeps its way into the ground. This usually takes only a few hours. It is a way for homeowners as well as businesses to participate in the reduction of polluted runoff. It is an infiltration technique in the form of a planted depression, designed to soak up storm-water run-off from impervious surfaces such as roofs, driveways, patios, walkways, basement sump pumps, and even compacted lawn areas. Storm water runoff is considered one of the main sources of water pollution nationwide. There is a movement that just might get storm water management out of the curb and gutter and into our front and backyards. the water is held in the landscape so it can be taken in aby plants and soak into the ground instead of flowing into a street and down a storm drain or drainage ditch.
This reduces rain runoff by allowing storm water to slowly filter into a garden that features native plantings (as opposed to flowing into storm drains and surface waters which causes erosion, water pollution, flooding and diminished groundwater). Rain Gardens can cut down on the amount of pollution reaching creeks and streams by up to 30%. They prevent storm water from becoming contaminated with oils and other chemicals in the first place. The soil, mulch and plants actually remove and break down pollutants from the water as it percolates through the soil on it's way to become groundwater.
These gardens can be small, formal, home-owner style gardens, large complex bio-retention gardens, or anywhere in between. It might seem that this is a very small contribution, but collectively, rain gardens can produce water quality benefits. These gardens are a sustainable way to recharge our water in a way the current system is NOT. Planting a small rain garden somewhere near you home helps lock rain water in the ground, reducing the flow of pollutants and poisons into the drains.

Wayside Gardens

Thursday, February 21, 2008


• We need rain gardens because rainwater is natural and stormwater is NOT!
• Usually gutters and sewers collect stormwater and direct it to detention ponds, which slowly release it to streams and lakes. These ponds do help reduce flooding and settle out sediments, but, they still take rainwater, occasionally quite far away from your garden.
• The rain garden keeps the water in YOUR garden while protecting rivers, streams and lakes from stormwater pollution.
• Decrease erosion
• help control local flooding
• Provide habitat for wildlife
• Attractive and creative alternative to typical lawn landscapes less watering.
• Less maintenance once established
• They create better surface water quality, groundwater quality and hydrological health.
• through the process of transpiration rain garden plants return wter vapor into the atmosphere.
• You don't need to be an engineer to make one!
• It is a way for us to help the environment.
Gardener's Supply Company

Friday, February 15, 2008


I have just finished making a Power Point Presentation on Rain Gardens. It was a huge endeavor. I will be presenting it to a Garden Club up here in NH in a few weeks. Then I will present it again at ILEAD, which is the Institute for Lifelong Education At Dartmouth. Perhaps I should put it on this site, a bit at a time. I think you'd find it interesting.
To define a rain garden, it is an attractive, low maintenance garden planted with native plants that are able to survive in both wet and dry conditions. It allows polluted storm runoff to seep into the ground instead of running off into the curb, and from there into ponds and streams.
Since water runoff from roofs, driveways, patios, walkways, sump pumps, etc. are a main source of polluted water, a rain garden can reduce pollution going into the ground by as much as 30%. That's a BIG number!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Finally! We heard from the retirement community into which we're planning to move as soon as possible. That means our home, here in New Hampshire, is now on the market. We are trying to sell it without the help of a real estate agent, so what better way than via the Internet? Here is a photo of the log cabin in which we presently reside, and which is for sale.
If you would like to learn more about it, you can visit this email address about Spring Hampston (the name we've given our home). It gives links to all kinds of local attractions and necessities, as well as pictures of the inside and outside the house. I hope you'll visit the website.
If you, or anyone you know, would possibly be interested, please share it with them. If you'd like to comunicate with us directly, send us an e-mail!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Hi Everyone...it's that time of year again! It's time to count the birds!

11th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count
February 15 – 18, 2008
Count for Fun, Count for the Future!

You can go to the website of the Great Backyard Bird Count and join the fun.
I count birds for the Cornell Project Feeder Watch, but I also do this one. It's fun. sometimes I think the birds enjoy it too!

Saturday, February 02, 2008


I had sent my blog link to someone to check out. They wrote back that they would certainly visit it, come warmer weather. Obviously, this is NOT a gardener! You KNOW don't you, that gardening is a year round endeavor?
You may not get out and dig...that's certainly true. But there ARE things to do, having to do with gardening. Let's talk about a few of them.
First and foremost, care for your broadleaved evergreens. Right now, outside our house, everything is covered in ice. DO NOT TOUCH those bushes when they are covered in ice. If you do, branches will break, and you'll be very unhappy (to say nothing of the bush!) However, as soon as that ice leaves the plants, check them out for broken branches. Prune any broken stems off. You can also remove any obviously diseased branches. If you get a warm day, I'd even spray them with an anti-descicant. That will help them hold onto moisture until the spring rains.
If you get some heavy snow, take a broom handle and gently nudge the branches until the snow falls off. If it's icy, packed, hard snow, I'd skip this until it comes off easily.
Next, I'd make a run around the flower beds. If any plants have been heaved up, try to stomp them down. Frost heaving can be very harmful to our plants.
This is the time of year to get your power tools serviced. The lawn mower, hedge clippers, pruners, rototiller, etc. If you take them to the shop now, they'll be ready to go when you need them. If one of your faithful tools has deserted you and broken, don't wait until you need it to go shopping, get them right now. I'm going to put a link to Gempler's here, so you have a place to get it if you don't have a local garden center, or they don't carry the right brand. Gempler's has good stuff!
Are you keeping the birds happy through the winter? They are wonderful at any time of year. During the warmer months they help us control insect pests, and just are a joy to have around. If you feed them all winter, they will probably be ready to stick around through the summer.
That's enough for today. I've given you a few ideas about what to be doing right now. More to come!

Friday, February 01, 2008



Bring home some wonderful blooming flowers to enjoy around the house!

Look around the garden (if it isn't covered by snow) and be sure none of your perennials have been heaved out of the ground by frost. If they have, press them back down.

Remove any heavy snow from the evergreens.

This is the time to get out and take a good look at your trees to see if they could stand some pruning. It is easy to see whether there are broken or diseased branches now that there are no leaves.

Are you ordering from those catalogs? This is the time to plan on making your dreams come true! At least in the garden.

As you look around the neighborhood, make note of plants that have "winter interest". Find out what they are and plan to add them to your garden when the weather is better!

Trees are easy to identify in the winter because all the leaves are gone. However, you have no leaves to use to help you either...so go to the book store and buy a Winter Tree Identification Guide. It's kind of fun identifying trees by their shapes, and the kids love doing it as well.

If you haven't done it already, sharpen those tools-and while you're at it, organize them as well.

Before you know it, it will be time to roll out the lawn mower. Has it been serviced? Get it to the shop before everyone else beats you to it.

If you have grapes, prune the vines now. If you wait until it begins to warm up, they will "bleed".

Force some of your spring blooming twigs for indoor color. Try fruit trees, forsythia, dogwood, pussy willow and quince. Just bring them inside and allow them to sit in a large vase with water.

Keep those bird feeders full.

Gardener's Supply Company