Saving The Environment With A Raingarden Saint John NB
Saint John, NB
Saving The Environment With A Raingarden
Start Planning Next Year's Bulb Garden
It’s the heat of July already, but forward-thinking gardeners are pondering the cool of next spring.
Now is the time to start planning additions to your bulb landscape. You need a scheme (a dream?), and a few bulb catalogs to start on that quest of perfect spring blossoms.
Popular bulbs tend to sell out. That’s why placing an order early is important. The bulbs will ship when the planting season starts this fall.
Easy to grow
Bulbs are easy to grow and one of Ma Nature’s grandest gifts. Nearly all of the work is in the planting. She takes care of the rest on what can be an adventure lasting decades.
Bulbs can pull you through the winter. Just as you’re about to go insane from cabin fever, think about the coming bulb show. It makes that snow seem not so permanent.
We have two choices in planting styles. You could make a formal garden devoted only to bulbs. Of course, what happens to it for the nine months of no bulbs?
This is where a naturalized collection makes a lot of sense. Naturalized bulbs are planted to look like they would in nature. That means little or no set scheme. Just plant them among your shrubbery or other perennials. The plan is to make them look like there is no plan.
Naturalized bulbs share one quality. They spread, increasing your crop every year (and you cannot beat the price).
Bulbs are communal. They enjoy living among other plants. Use the early ones to increase your growing season. I have daffodils naturalized in my daylilly bed. They emerge and bloom, dressing up the bed long before the daylilies arrive.
Eventually, naturalized bulbs will begin to clump. This will cut down on their flowering. Dig them, separate the new bulbs and replant.
There are thousands of bulbs on the market at dozens of prices. I’d start with the cheap ones first before risking $10 or more per bulb. Be sure your bulbs are correct for your plant hardiness zone.
Cheapest in bulk
Bulbs are cheapest bought in bulk. It makes sense to combine orders with friends for the best price. Early buyers often receive discounts.
Online shopping, information:
- Plant hardiness zone map: www.usna.usda.gov/Hardzone
- Dutch bulbs: www.vanengelen.com
- Direct from Holland: www.brecks.com
- Fall-planting bulbs: www.whiteflowerfarm.com
- Bulbs and supplies: www.waysidegardens.com
- Discount bulbs: www.bloomingbulb.com
Send gardening questions to Jim Hillibish at firstname.lastname@example.org: Jim Hillibish
Saving The Environment With A Raingarden
The native soil and forests of many areas store, filter, and slowly release cool, clean water to streams, wetlands, and estuaries. The rich diversity of life in marine and fresh water, as well as on land, depends on clean water to thrive.
As cities grow, they encroach upon and change natural settings; wild areas are replaced with infrastructure and other hard surfaces. During periods of precipitation, more water flows from these man-made surfaces than natural areas, carrying oil, fertilizers, pesticides, sediment and other pollutants downstream. In fact, much of the pollution in streams, wetlands and rivers now comes from storm-water (water flowing off developed areas). The increased volume of water and allied contaminants from developed land are detrimental to water resources and harming aquatic life.
One possible solution is a type of landscaping called the rain garden-
WHAT IS A RAIN GARDEN?
A rain garden acts like a native forest by collecting , absorbing , and filtering storm-water runoff from roof tops , driveways, patios, and other areas that don't allow water to soak in. Rain gardens are created as shallow depressions that:
Can be shaped and sized to fit your yard.
Are constructed with soil mixes that allow water to soak in rapidly and support healthy plant growth.
Can be landscaped with a variety of plants to fit the surroundings.
Rain gardens are one of the most versatile and effective tools in a new approach to managing storm-water called low impact development (LID). An LID project may incorporate several tools to soak up rain water , reduce storm-water runoff , and filter pollutants. Some examples of these tools include permeable paving , compost-amended soils, vegetated roofs , rainwater collection systems and rain gardens.
Rain gardens provide multiple benefits, including:
Filter oil and grease from driveways, pesticides and fertilizers from lawns, and other pollutants before they reach the storm drain and eventually streams, wetlands, lakes and marine waters.
Reduce flooding on neighboring property, overflow in sewers, and erosion in streams by absorbing water from impervious surfaces.
Provide habitat for beneficial insects and birds.
Increase the amount of water that soaks into the ground to recharge local groundwater.
Rain gardens are low maintenance, but not NO maintenance. You worked hard to create your rain garden, and to keep it working well for you and looking its best , some regular care is required.
For the first two to three years most plants need deep watering during the dry season to establish healthy root systems. If you have selected the appropriate natives or plants, then the rain garden will need little or no watering after two or three years. However, watering may be necessary during prolonged dry periods even if plants are established. During these periods watch for signs of stress, such as wilting leaves.
Water deeply, but infrequently, so that the top 6 to 12 inches of the root zone is moist. To know if you're applying enough water , dig down 12 to 18 inches off to the side of the plant a few hours after watering- don't disturb the roots.
Use soaker hoses or spot water with a shower type wand.
Mulch your rain garden. Check the mulch level every year , 2-3 inches of shredded hardwood mulch should be applied in the spring, or if bare areas appear , more often. Mulch keeps the garden moist and sponge like, ready to absorb rain. Mulch areas along the sides and bottom of the rain garden. This prevents a hard pan from developing on the surface of the garden. Mulch protects the plants in the garden as they get established and makes it easier to weed.
Rain gardens will still soak up and filter storm-water even if weeds are present. Soils in rain gardens have good structure, so weeds should be easy to pull by hand, especially in the spring when the soil is moist and the weeds are small.
Dig or pull weeds out by the roots before they go to seed.
Exposed soil and erosion
Sediment flowing into the rain garden can clog the soil mix and slow drainage. Sediment carried out of the rain garden can harm streams and wetlands in many ways, some of which include transporting pollutants, covering fish spawning areas , and filling in stream channels and pools. If erosion persists in the rain garden , too much water may be flowing into the garden too rapidly. In this case, the slope of the pipe or swale directing water to the garden or the amount of water may need to be reduced.
Remember, rain gardens can be an integral part of our storm-water management and environmental approach. Their use doesn't involve a lot of centralized planning. They don't require much space, can be fitted into oddball shapes, and can readily added to existing buildings. They look nice, and you don't need to be an engineer to build one. Anyone can make a rain garden - including you!
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