This rain garden nestles into the landscape and demonstrates how storm water management features can be done in a pleasing fashion
Fixing Drainage Issues in Your Yard
what you can do at home to keep our waterways healthy and clean. Part of the water bring lazy and taking the easiest route
Why plant rain gardens?
The news has been saturated (pun intended) with water-related headlines lately: last year, Toledo’s water was contaminated with toxic algae. Locally in central Ohio, we’ve experienced elevated nitrate levels and localized flooding from heavy rainfall and runoff.
Though compacted and paved suburban or urban landscapes are limited in their ability to absorb rainfall, the creative gardeners among us can capture their rainwater in a rain garden. Treating your own home’s runoff is one way residents can protect our drinking water while decreasing harmful effects on waterways from flash flooding, erosion, and pollution.
Storing water temporarily in a rain garden allows it to draw down slowly, preventing the possibility that it will pick up pollutants and carry them to the nearest stream. Water is naturally filtered as well: gardens remove and degrade contaminants through microbial processes, plant uptake, exposure to sunlight, and absorption to soil particles. Properly designed rain gardens capture the first inch of rainfall, and drain within a day. Since most storms produce less than one inch of rainfall, capturing it reduces pollutants significantly.
How To Build A Rain Garden
There’s a new sort of garden in town. It’s easy to install, looks good year-round and has a positive impact on the environment. It’s a rain garden
A rain garden is a special type of garden, designed to collect stormwater runoff from a roof, driveway or other impervious surfaces. Rather than rushing off into a storm sewer or a local waterway, the rainwater collects in a shallow depression in your yard. This area is planted with native grasses and wildflowers that are specially selected for their ability to gradually absorb and filter stormwater.
Rain gardens can have a significant impact on the water quality in our communities. Studies have shown that as much as 70% of the pollution in streams, rivers and lakes has been carried there by stormwater. By taking responsibility for the rainwater that falls on your own roof and driveway, you’ll be helping to protect our rivers, streams and lakes from stormwater pollution. Adding a rain garden to your yard will also provide food and shelter for wildlife, and give you a whole new garden that’s hardy, low maintenance and naturally beautiful!
Siting the Garden
Your rain garden should be located at least 10 feet from the house. A natural site is a low spot in your yard that often collects water after a heavy rain. Ideally this area receives full sun, but at a minimum it should receive a half day of sunlight. There should be a natural slope (at least 1 percent grade) leading from the water collection area (your roof or driveway) down to the rain garden. Choosing a relatively level spot for the garden will keep digging to a minimum. or call …
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Once you’ve identified the new garden’s location, remove the sod and dig a shallow depression approximately 6″ deep. Slope the sides gradually from the outside edge to the deepest area. Use the soil that you remove to build up a slightly raised area on the lowest side of the garden. This berm will help contain the stormwater and allow it to percolate slowly through the rain garden.
If your rain garden is no more than about 6″ deep, stormwater will usually be absorbed within a one- to seven-day period. Because mosquitoes require seven to 10 days to lay and hatch their eggs, this will help you avoid mosquito problems. If you want to create an area with standing water for fish and amphibians, you can make one part of your rain garden deeper, perhaps as much as 18 inches in the deepest spot. Depending on the type of soil you have (sand, clay, loam), you may need to line that area of the garden with plastic to help retain a small pool of water.
A typical residential rain garden is 100 to 300 square feet, but any size rain garden is fine. Most people just size the garden to suit their available space. You can calculate the ideal size for a rain garden, based on the surface area of your roof, soil type and the garden’s distance from your house. (For more detail, see the links at the end of this article.)
The downspout from your roof or sump pump outlet from your basement should be directed toward your rain garden depression. This can be accomplished by a natural slope, by digging a shallow swale, or by piping the runoff directly to the garden through a buried 4″ diameter plastic drain tile.
Time to plant! Native plants are the best choice for rain gardens.
They withstand difficult growing conditions and require little care. When choosing the plants, consider height, bloom time and color. Clumps of three to seven plants of the same variety will look better than a patchwork of singles. Be sure to mix native ornamental grasses and sedges in with your perennial wildflowers to ensure the garden has a strong root mass that will resist erosion and inhibit weed growth.
New plants should be watered every other day for the first two weeks or so. Once they are well established, your garden should thrive without additional watering. Fertilizers will not be necessary, and only minimal weeding will be needed after the first summer of growth.
Most rain gardeners wait until early spring to cut back the prior year’s growth. Leaving seed heads and spent foliage in place through the winter provides visual interest as well as cover and food for many kinds of wildlife. Once spring comes, burning off the dead material is the best way to knock back weeds and stimulate new growth. If burning is not an option, mow the dead plants or cut them back with a scythe or pruning shears.
Applied Ecological Services, Inc., has been installing rain gardens for more than 20 years. Their web site has lots of good information about rain gardens, and their Taylor Creek Restoration Nursery offers a wide variety of garden plants.
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Do you have crows, skunks or raccoons digging up your lawn? If so, you may have a European Chafer beetle infestation.
The European Chafer beetle (Rhizotrogus majalis) is a serious pest in Eastern North America and was first identified in the Lower Mainland region in New Westminster in 2001. It has since spread to many Metro Vancouver municipalities causing considerable damage to lawns, boulevards, medians and turf in parks.
Chafer beetles have a one year life cycle and populations build up quickly. The grubs feed on the roots of many different plants, but prefer the fibrous roots of turf grasses. In drier weather, the damage caused results in the appearance of brown patches in the lawn. Most of the serious turf damage is typically caused by birds and animals digging for Chafer beetle grubs. Damage by animals is most severe in the Fall and Spring when the grubs are rapidly increasing in size and feeding near the surface.
What Can You Do If You Have An Infestation?
The European Chafer Beetle is an exotic pest, so there are few natural predators to control its population. They are here to stay, but with healthy lawn care practices, alternative groundcovers and biological treatment, damage from this pest can be controlled on residential properties
Don’t cut your grass too short. Raise your mowing height to 6 to 9cm (2.5 to 3 inches), since Chafer beetles prefer laying eggs on closely cropped lawns. The taller grass also helps protect the soil surface from water loss and encourages deeper root growth
The key is keeping the lawn healthy,
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No closures will be implemented within one hour before and after all events at the the bridge , Garden or Party, to minimize traffic impacts in the area. .( ͡°╭͜ʖ╮͡° ).
When growing plants, be very careful about where you plant different strains as well as which pollinators can create hybrids without your knowing. This includes bees which can carry pollen for miles as well as the wind itself which can transmit pollen from one field to another.
A hybrid seed is produced by artificially cross pollinating two genetically different plants of the same species, such as two different tomatoes or two varieties of corn. The crosspollination is done by hand, and a seed that is saved will not grow true to either parent. Thus the farmer or gardener has no choice
Genetically Modified Organisms or GMO seed have been altered using DNA from completely different species and organisms to give different traits such as resistance to herbicides and acceptance of chemical fertilizers. Some GMO corn, for instance, manufactures its own herbicide in its root structure. Some DNA donors have come from fish, frogs and bacteria. The major crops that are genetically modified are corn, cotton, soybeans and wheat. Sugar beets and alfalfa have recently been deregulated, and potatoes are being studied. Most common garden vegetables are not yet genetically modified simply because the financial return in the market is not present yet.
Two of the better known benefits of heirloom seed include adaptability and flavor. Some varieties of heirloom tomato have been known to adapt to a specific location within as little as 2 to 3 growing seasons, showing better vigor, better production, better flavor and increase disease resistance. This is a result of saving the seed and replanting it year to year. Many people come to heirlooms in search of flavors that they experienced as a child. One of the leading characteristics of heirloom varieties is defined by the depth of flavor that they produce. This single characteristic has been one of the major reasons for the preservation of specific varieties over great spans of time. This is probably one of the biggest reasons for the resurgence of heirlooms in home gardens in the past 10 years, as once people experience the amazing range and depths of flavors that heirlooms offer, they are hooked. Taste is once again becoming a viable characteristic in variety selection for the home garden instead of only production quantity, uniformity, and disease resistance.
People are celebrating the fact that taste trumps volume. It’s the classic quantity vs. quality conundrum, with quality making a comeback.
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David Tarrant’s favourite winter-blooming flowers brighten up the season’s bleakest days
Gardeners have many reasons to feel fortunate about living in B.C., and the ability to enjoy colourful blooms even in the depth of winter is certainly one of them. In fact, the southern coast and southern Vancouver provide ideal growing conditions for a number of winter-flowering plants. Those of us who live in these regions also know that our winter begins with the monsoons of November and ends in February, no matter what official dates the calendar may dictate. Because winter flowers bloom during the darkest days of the year, they are all the more precious and deserve a place in your garden that is not only sheltered, but that allows you to easily view the blooms from the comfort of your favourite chair indoors. To enhance the beauty of these winter gems, be sure to give them a dark backdrop, such as an evergreen hedge or dark-stained fence. This will allow every bloom to show up to perfection. Here are just a few of my favourite winter-bloomers, all of which have quite individual soil requirements. While some of these plants are hardy in Interior and northern gardens, keep in mind that they may not bloom in these regions until early spring. Viburnum x bodnantense is a cross between V. farreriand V. grandiflorum, both of which are quite lovely in their own natural forms. However the hybrid gets its name from the famous Bodnant Gardens in North Wales where it originated in 1935. It is a shrub that reaches about three metres in height and is hardy to –20°C. On the coast it often starts to bloom before its leaves have dropped in early November and continues on and off right through to late February. The sweetly scented flowers are borne in tight clusters at the tip of every branch and side spur. Plant one near an entry to your home so its fragrance can be enjoyed by everyone who comes and goes. The early winter flowers tend to be white whereas those that open from December onward are quite pink. Heavy frost can damage open blossoms, but there are so many flowers to follow that as soon as the temperature rises above freezing they start opening again. As far as soil goes, this viburnum isn’t too fussy. In fact, ours at the UBC Botanical Garden thrives in poor soil with absolutely no moisture retention. As with many woody plants, the best blossoms are carried on younger wood (in our case, two-year-old wood). With shrubs older than three or four years, don’t be afraid to prune out one or two of the oldest branches right to the ground soon after flowering has finished in the spring.
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The gooseberry A first flower is crocus. Crocus flowers are one of the brightest and earliest spring bloomers. Plant them in the fall and these easy-to-grow bulbs will light up your yard.warm spring-like weather in Vancouver means many gardening enthusiasts have already got their hands dirty.
Veggies Seeds to start in March
- Cool weather veggies go in now including:-arugula, broad beans, collards, corn salad, kale, Oriental greens, peas, radishes and spinach. Our robust veggie starts are generally in stock by early March.
Veggies Seeds to start in April
- In addition to the above March list you can also plant:- beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots (unless we are having a colder/wetter spring) fennel, green onions, kohlrabi, lettuce, onions, parsnips, swiss chard and turnips
Borders & Flower Gardens
- March is the month to feed your garden. Trees, shrubs, hedges, roses, perennials, vines, and small fruits can all be fertilized now. We stock a large selection of organic fertilizers which we know you will love! Our bulk ‘Organic Mix ‘ Fertilizer makes it easy and it is great for just about everything and is available in a large sack or in small amounts by the pound. Not sure what to use or how? Ask us and we will show you:)
- Rhododendrons, azaleas, heather, camellias, hedges and other acid loving plants can be fertilized with Plant Prod ‘Ever Acid’ liquid fertilizer for lovely deep green foliage and for the acidifying that they need
- Plant new trees, shrubs, roses, perennials, pansies, small fruits and hardy herbs. Include bonemeal, peat moss and manure or your own compost when planting and don’t forget to water new transplants frequently
- Hold off trimming down bulbs such as tulips and daffodils until the foliage is yellowing as this process is feeding the bulb for next Spring
- Prune summer blooming clematis back to about 3′. Leave Spring blooming varieties of clematis to prune, if necessary, after they flower as you would cut off the buds if you pruned these now
- Prune roses when the daffodils begin to bloom (usually early to mid March) and apply ¼ cup dry Epson salts around the base and scratch it in
- Prune Spring blooming shrubs such as Forsythia, magnolia and lilac after flowering
- Weed gardens before the weeds have a chance to flower and go to seed
- Compost or manure can be added to flower beds now
- Purchase summer flowering bulbs, roots, and tubers such as dahlias, lilies, hostas, glads and plant as packages recommend. Generally the winter hardy types like lilies and hostas are planted after March 1st and non-winter hardy types like dahlias and glads are planted after April 1st. Begonias are started indoors from February on but do not get transplanted outdoors until after Mother’s Day (same as most annuals)
- This is the time of year that the large shipments of new plants arrive and there is just about always something new at the Garden Centre!
- Control Moss in lawns if necessary (You will need two days of dry weather after it has been applied)
- Thatch lawn to remove thatch in older lawns and dead moss in lawns recently treated with moss control. (10 days after moss control)
- Lime lawns in preparation for fertilizing about two weeks later
- Feed lawn with a good quality Spring fertilizer. We like BC made Garden Pro 32-4-8 as it is made for our specific growing conditions
- Pull dandelions and other weeds from lawn before they flower and make new seeds
Ensure plants used in gardens will provide visual enjoyment all year long and meet the the sizes set out are set out front to back where visibility is a concern
In the garden.Garden accents can take the form of some serious statuary or be as delicate as a glass wind chime. Big or small, I believe such accents give the viewer information just as my card Does
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