Thursday, January 8, 2009

More About Rain Gardens

Yesterday I posted about my town of Noblesville receiving a grant of $25,000 for a rain garden. Being fond of nature and gardens, the Rain Garden idea intrigued me and I wanted to know more about them. I found a wonderful and informative site called Rain Gardens of West Michigan. There is a five minute video on this site that does a great job of explaining what a rain garden is and why they are so important.

I'm on the email loop from our city's Public Affairs Manager, and I received this in my mail today!

I am very excited about this opportunity and will hopefully be able to attend. I think it would be awesome to help plant demonstration sites around the city. What a great community project!

I am so proud of the leaders' of Noblesville and Hamilton County for educating those in our community about this serious issue, but more importantly to be an example to the people with this wonderful project and the free workshop.

We have a river, retention ponds galore, and several lakes in our area. People don't realize that every chemical they use in their yards to kill weeds and bugs end up in our water supply through storm water runoff. Even with water purification systems, particles of these chemicals remain in our drinking water. Not only that, but those chemicals are harmful to the wildlife in our retention ponds which are located in just about every neighborhood, (mine has three). We used to have so many frogs around our neighborhood and now there are very few, I'm convinced it is due to the poisons in the ponds.

I have received brochures with my water bills telling of ways to prevent water runoff pollution.
Here is a list I found online:

10 Things You Can Do to Prevent
Stormwater Pollution:

Use lawn and garden chemicals sparingly or use organic alternatives. Whatever you put on your lawn could find its way to a stream.

Choose low-maintenance, native plants that require fewer chemicals and less watering.

Don't dump anything into storm drains. Most lead directly into area waterways. This is a violation!

Wash your car on the lawn or gravel, which filter the dirt and soap out of the water. Use soaps without phosphates, which remove oxygen from the water. Or go to a car wash that recycles wash water.

Fix that oil leak in your car, and recycle oil and other car fluids.

Clean up after your pet and dispose of the waste in the garbage or flush it down the toilet.

Report Polluters .

Keep your septic system maintained to prevent leaks.

Sweep driveways and sidewalks instead of hosing them off. Direct downspouts away from paved surfaces.

Reduce the amount of impervious surfaces around your home. Alternatives such as paving blocks, gravel, cobbles, brick and natural stone can replace asphalt and concrete in driveways, parking lots and walkways.

Hamilton County Public Education
Steering Committee

While most of this has been about Hamilton County and Noblesville, Indiana, rain gardens are beneficial no matter where you live and each person should be aware of and concerned about stormwater runoff pollution.

I think with the recent droughts and water shortages more people are thinking of reducing their lawns and using native plants, (which require less water), for their gardens. For Indiana, a wonderful resource for learning more about native plants is Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society, (inpaws).

American Beauties Native Plants is another informative site for planning butterfly, bird and other types of gardens with native plants in your specific location of the country.

I am so excited about this new Rain Garden project! I'll definitely be keeping an eye on this and sharing with you our progress!


Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

Oh Robin, what a wonderful post about this opportunity! I have been coming across bloggers who have mentioned rain gardens but have had NO idea what they meant. Well, thanks to you, I'm getting a better picture:)

Also, FYI, at this very moment, I am actually here at your site to get the info. to upload an enlarged photo onto blogger. As soon as I leave here, I'm going back to publish the post. It's just an 'experimental' photo...but I can't wait to see if it will work!
Take care!

Diane said...

This is all new to me too, Robin. But I appreciate the information and will be keeping it in mind - thank you for the 'list' - there are definitely things that I can change around here. Bless you!

Victoria said...

Great post. This is a big issue here in the UK as well, where people seem keen to pave over as much garden as possible in order to park their cars. I love the phrase "rain gardens".

Daphne said...

We have huge issues with the growing acres of impervious surfaces in our town and in the town upstream of us. Our town used to flood about once every 50 years, now it is close to every 5 years. It isn't the amount of rain that we get, it is just that everyone is paving over the world. The water can no longer get into the soil. We need more rain gardens or permeable paving.

Cameron (Defining Your Home) said...

I'm so glad that rain gardens are getting attention. Hopefully, more and more will be created.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

It is great that you will be able to help with this endeavor.

I think it is funny that people are now creating marshes and calling them Rain Gardens. After so many years of farmers and developers draining marshes they are finding that they are essential for a healthy earth.

Dave said...

Rain gardens are a great solution to runoff problems. I built on last year and it has taken 100% of the water that used to pool up on our driveway. I need to do more with the plantings I put in it but it's been successful so far. That's very cool that they are doing a free workshop!

I agree with what Daphne said "everyone is paving over the world." I think we need less impervious concrete whenever and wherever possible!

Anonymous said...

I've seen these in our public parks and they are a wonderful way to absorb the excess rain water that runs off buildings. Thanks for the great info today. It sounds like a fun opportunity to be involved in.

Lynn said...

I just watched the video on rain gardens, it was wonderful.
I just applied for a grant for our school for this type of garden. We will know in Feb if we get it... I think it will be wonderful to start our garden at school for the kids to work in and to teach them about the environment... I will save this video and show it to them at one of our meetings..
Thank you for sharing.

Debbie said...

Robin, after you posted the other day, I had to look this up. There is so much wonderful info out there. We have one area of our yard that gets flooded in the spring and during heavy rain times in the summer. We have been planning on putting in drainage, but this seems so much better. I've already talked to hubby about it and we are making a plan. Thanks for sharing this great solution.

Sherri said...

Robin, I work for a commercial construction company in Charlotte, NC. I had to attend an erosion control class and take the test. It was an all day course and I found it very interesting and I passed the test! We use rain gardens alot in our construction. We built a nursing home and there were 3 rain gardens on the site. It was absolutely wonderful! I hope you can go to that seminar!

Gail said...

Robin, You are so fortunate that someone in your city gov't cares! Storm water runoff is a big issue in Nashville, but we rarely here about efforts to educate our citizens. There are now paving systems that allow the water to filter through rather then run we can have driveways and patios with hard surfaces. I imagine many a planned community still has archaic rules about materials home owners can use!

Thank you for the very helpful list.


Lythrum said...

I'm planning on doing a rain garden of some sort in my yard and have been for a couple of years. I came across the Michigan site too and thought it was one of the most informative that I have seen. One of these days I might actually get around to making one. Good luck with your community project. :)

Cameron (Defining Your Home) said...


I've written my blog post for tomorrow to show my rain garden in action (rain water in it).

I've linked back to your post in my opening line so that folks know that you inspired me to help raise awareness.


Dan said...

Hello Robin
Glad to see you are so interested in rain gardens. I hope you can make it to the program. I am actually on the steering committee for the Hamilton County SWCD Backyard Conservation Program (left logo on bottom). We installed a large rain garden last year at the fair grounds to handle all of the water from the llama barn. If you go to the fair this year, make sure you go by the llama barn and check it out.

Kathleen said...

Great list Robin. I agree with you about the harm these chemicals are causing. We all need to exercise more caution and care in the way we use our valuable water.

queenofseaford said...

Great information on rain gardens. The Virginia Forestry Dept. also has a publication on Rain Gardens.
Love your blog,

Brad@Container Gardening said...

Thanks for the info on Rain Gardens. I needed that! Very new to me!

Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) said...

Robin...WOW! Your blog is a feast for the eyes...every picture is incredible! Love the birds, the lazy squirrel and of course, the sweet kitty pics. I am going to come back and read some of your older post! :-) Susan

Kerri said...

Thanks for more info on the Rain Garden! It seems like such a GREAT idea!!

jodi said...

It's so good to see so much more information out there about rain gardens, isn't it Robin? I'll be following this with you.

Pat Leuchtman said...

Robin, thank you for the suggestions about protecting run off by being aware of what happens with storm drain systems. Excellent advice.

Kylee said...

What a wonderfully informative post, Robin. I can sense your excitement about being a part of this!