Planting with a Purpose
Spring is in the air, and it’s time to hit the ground
March 01, 2013
When you think about landscaping this season, consider creating a rain garden.
This attractive yet functional natural area will not only draw birds and butterflies, but will help improve the water quality of our local lakes, rivers and springs.
Designed to capture and soak up rainwater from roofs, driveways, gutters, and other areas, a rain garden offers many benefits.
Aside from enhancing your yard’s beauty and providing valuable habitat for wildlife, it can decrease flooding and soil erosion.
It also will enhance the environment by reducing the flow of stormwater, which can carry fertilizers, pesticides, oil and other pollutants into local waterways.
Here’s how it works:
During a storm, the first few inches of rain will fill the garden and minimize the amount that enters a storm drain, ditch or nearby stream. This water will slowly seep into the ground, filtered by the soil and plants, and replenish the Floridan Aquifer – our region’s valuable drinking water supply.
As we all know, it is much easier and less expensive to prevent pollution naturally than to clean it up later. Construction of the garden can be simple and affordable.
Key steps in the process include choosing and sizing the site, selecting appropriate plants, planting the garden and maintaining the area.
Recommended plants include native groundcovers, perennials and shrubs, such as blue flag iris, canna and rain lilies, river oats, wax myrtle and Piedmont azalea, just to name a few.
You may decide to do some or all of the work yourself or you might seek assistance from a professional landscaper.
The City of Tallahassee, through its Think About Personal Pollution (TAPP) program, offers expert advice and numerous materials.
Limited funds are also available for rain garden grants for City of Tallahassee residents on a first-come, first-served basis.
For more information, call 891.4YOU (4968) or visit tappwater.org.
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