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You Don't Need To Live In Seattle To Have A Rain Garden

Recent Rains have some of you thinking about fall in your garden and what you should do there. I've found a fascinating project that you didn’t even know you needed. It’s called a rain garden.

“A rain garden is a shallow depression that is placed in a position where it collects storm water runoff from areas where that runoff is concentrated; like rain gutters, or off a driveway, or a sidewalk.”

Lee Marlowe works with sustainable landscapes for the San Antonio River Authority.

“And you intercept that rain flow with a shallow depression.”

Picture a low spot that you’ve dug out — a place for water to flow to, and then be absorbed by the ground and plants there. 

“It also holds that water, and allows that rainwater to infiltrate into the ground. And so, any pollutants that might be in that rainwater, will get cleaned by the plants, and the soil, and the microorganisms in the soil. And so you end up getting cleaner water in the end, and can help improve water quality in our streams and river.”

It's best to choose native plants that can take an occasional soaking, but are dry-inclined the rest of the year. But here's an additional idea.

“You can choose species that attract butterflies, if you like to watch butterflies.”

I suggested the Rain Garden can be a way station for the Monarchs every year.

”It sure can, particularly if you choose milkweed species.”

If like me you're sold on the Rain Garden idea, you probably wonder how in the world would you would make one. Marlowe has the answer.

“Well, the River Authority has put a rain garden step-by-step guide online. We’ve got videos, we’ve got guidelines in written format, we’ve got a question and answer format, we’ve got diagrams. We’ve got pretty much anything anybody would need, in order to figure out how to put a rain garden in their yard.”

I noted "All you got to do is operate a pickaxe, plant a few things."

“Sure…maybe a shovel, or two. Maybe have a rain garden party and have your friends over.”

Now that's an idea.


And more on Rain Gardens here.

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii