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Archive for the ‘raingarden’ Category

This morning, one of the first articles I read on “Crosscut” was titled “To solve water pollution, Seattle turns to an old solution“, written by Samantha Larson.

This is what I’ve been advocating for years.  It is a Rain Garden concept.  Rain Gardens capture water coming from your roof, driveway, sidewalk, etc. and direct it into a garden specifically designed to filter the water, filtering it naturally and sending it into an aquifer, rather than the curb.  As I said in my “old” 2008 Rain Garden post, ” An effective rain garden depends on water infiltrating into the soil of the garden. They are actually miniature, temporary wetlands, planted with native plants.”  Do visit that post and read more.

Here is a sketch of a Rain Garden designed for use in a garden, but it is usable between a curb and the sidewalk with different plant materials.  This does give you an screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-9-03-11-amidea.  (The drawing is from an article done by Texas A&M on Rain Gardens.)

It makes profound sense to have these in our Seattle landscape.  They need not be large, every little bit counts!  Having them all along the curbs where the nasty water runs, is a grand idea!  It may not handle the entire filtration of the run-off, but it will surely do it’s part!!!

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We have struggled with water needs over the last few months in our HH garden beds and levels; we have been seeing the Environmental Group’s concerns “Living Dangerously” documentaries; we have been “enjoying” red sunsets caused by smoke from fires in Canada, mostly exacerbated by drought; and we have read articles about climate changing and global warming.  But, what can WE do about that?
Well, we CAN do our little bit.  In our apartments we are trying very hard to separate our trash, turn off lights, conserve water, etc.  But, how about in our gardens?  Are we being water conscious there?
Perhaps the next time you decide to purchase a plant for your garden, you should get one that is DROUGHT TOLERANT.  I have found a wonderful article from Washington State University Extension Service that addresses just that issue.  I will give you the link here.  It is for a PDF.  The flowering shrubs, vines and ground covers start on about page 13, but these are plants that would happily grow in your HH garden, with a lot less need for water. Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 8.22.32 AM Think seriously about the purchase of one of these next time you go to the nursery for plant replenishment!
I received an advertisement from Molbak’s this past week.  They are having a sale on “Hens & Chicks”.  They are lovely little, drought resistant plants that would love a spot in your garden!
This PDF also shares many good tips, mostly targeting large gardens…but many of the techniques can be tailored to our little beds.  Give it a try.  Read it seriously, and see if you can’t make your little piece of paradise a little less dependent on so much water!

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Almost all our problems here at the Horizon House gardens involve water…in one way or another.IMG_0371

There’s a leak creating a flood; the hose has popped rendering water unavailable; the hose nozzle is broken; a spray emits from the sprayer going in the wrong direction, creating a very wet gardener; there’s water leaking across the deck under the planters creating a slippery spot, which is NOT good in a retirement community where some folks are challenged with walking; we need more folks to water pots and planters that are not individually cared for by an assigned gardener; there is the usual vacationer who either forgets, or neglects to get their garden cared for in their absence.  The list goes on and on.  All the gardeners know JUST what I’m talking about.

So, we can’t do without it, and yet sometimes we just get too much…or we get it in the wrong place.  WATER   We can’t live without it, and sometimes we can’t live with it.  Our plants?  Well, they need it, but administered correctly!

Why do they need it?  If they don’t have it, the little rootlets will dry up, no sustenance will get to the leaves, stems and trunk, and then?  A dead plant.

Here is a wonderful site that explains all the why’s and hows of water and your plants.  It comes from the University of Arizona Extension Service.

It tells about mulch.  It tells about over, and under watering, and the effects those will have on your plants.  It explains WHERE to water, and how much.  It’s worth a visit.

WATER is SO CRITICAL to every growing thing.  Without it, our gardens would be very sad places.  There certainly are plants that don’t require very much hydration.  Those are the ones we should try to get into our gardens.  Water is something we seem to be squandering.    It is important that our families have enough drinking water…but it is also important that we have food.  Every thing we consume is loaded with water.  So, almost everything in and  on our planet needs it.  It behooves us to use it sparingly, yet in such a way that it supports life-ours AND that of our plants.

I address water in my book as well.  It appears in the calendar section as well as in numerous stories.  It’s a very important aspect of gardening.  The book also addresses snow and ice and it’s affects on your garden.  Of course, in Seattle, we are not troubled too much with ice and snow, but it’s all part of the big picture.

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This morning I was delighted to read an article on NPR concerning various types of water conservation.

I have been advocating the use of Rain Gardens for YEARS!  I LOVE that the idea is catching on everywhere.  It’s about time!

At any rate, aside from MY words, here is a web site that tells about ALL kinds of Green Infrastructure.

Here at Horizon House, we should be proud that our building is home to a Green Roof!IMG_2856  In fact, our apartment looks right down on that green roof.  At the moment it is enduring some repair.  Somehow it “sprung a leak” which is definitely NOT good, and not something you like to see, but even with that setback, being in the final stages of repair, it will soon be doing it’s job of keeping the rain, over our little corner of Seattle, from flowing into the drainage sewers!

Our garden beds, on three separate levels, are also definite “rain catchers” as you can see in this photo. IMG_2884

Ours is in an urban area, however raingardens can be utilized ANYWHERE!  Those of you who live at Horizon House, be proud of your green roof, and be aware that we are on the cusp of something very good!  Those of you who do NOT live here, maybe you should encourage your building administrators to see if this wouldn’t be something you could do to help our environment!

If you live outside of the city, you have even a better opportunity to build something into your surrounding area.  Instead of laying down asphalt the next time you need a new driveway, think of a permeable driveway!

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