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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Rain Garden Workshop

I have given a few teasers over the last couple of weeks, but on April 9 TLC hosted a rain garden workshop at our offices.  We had a full house of 9 participants who attended a morning lecture followed by an afternoon of hands-on training. The morning lecture space was graciously provided by the Chester County Conservation District, as we do not have a large enough meeting room.  We installed the rain garden outside of TLC's offices in the afternoon.  A few key points that our participants learned from the rain garden workshop:

A rain garden is a useful tool for storm water management that helps to collect and infiltrate storm water runoff back into the soil.  

Rain Gardens are shallow depressions in the ground.

Rain gardens should not be placed in an area that typically holds water because this is indicative of an area with slow infiltration.  If all you have are areas that pool water, than you can use your rain garden to aid in evapotranspiration by planting appropriate plants.  

Plant selection can make or break a rain garden.   Pick a combination of plants that together offer good ground cover, are evergreen,  bloom throughout the season, spread fairly well, are perennial or vigorous re-seeders, and plants that re-seed themselves well in areas of disturbance. ALWAYS USE NATIVE PLANTS!

It is important to appropriately calculate the amount of storm water you wish your garden to contain.

Rain gardens should be built on fairly flat land and have areas that create the inflow of storm water, and the outflow in the event of a higher than typical rainstorm.

There are of course many, many more points to planting a rain garden, but they were some of the general highlights.  

Here are some pictures from our workshop.  As the garden continues to grow, we will post more photos.

Thank you to Claudia West from North Creek Nurseries for her assistance with the planting and workshop, North Creek Nurseries for the plants, Chester County Conservation District for the use of the meeting space, and The Willowdale Town Center for allowing us to install the rain garden.

Rain Garden 2 Weeks After Installation

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