14 Apr 2014

Over many years, as a gardener, I have lived in climates similar to the one here in the Northwest. The most consistent factor is rain, and we are blessed to have no real water issues; though I know that months of wet weather can wear down even the hardiest soul. Most of the rain we get ends up in the Ocean via a series of natural and man made drainage channels. Here at Erin Landscapes we have been actively working with other experts in the field of drainage and rain collection in order to mitigate runoff, erosion, and damage while trying to find ways of detoxifying the runoff that picks up the many different chemicals from road use and other sources. A large percentage of our stormwater, for instance, ends up polluting the Bay as it flows directly off the roadways into the ocean wherein filtration causes buildups of certain chemicals.

Trends in horticulture tend to come and go, or are revealed to be natural solutions rebooted to make them sound like new science. Rain Gardens are one of those trends, and one that hopefully will awaken people as to the efficiency of plants in the ecosystem to detoxify water before it gets to another natural ecosystem and pollutes it. Rain gardens though seemingly a new concept have been around for as long as the earth it is just now that the common person is learning to understand how they work. Small woodlands, shrublands, and wetland transition zones are all a part of natures plan to filter and return cleaned water to its natural environment by many different means. These means include root breakdown, microbial soil actions, and mycelium (the underground network of what we know as mushrooms). All of these are methods that nature has combined into a multi tiered filtration unit, often resulting in cleaned water and broken down chemical parts that are used as nutrients in the ecosystem. A well installed raingarden should contain many parts in order for it to continue working over a lifetime. Growing medium should be alive, and mulched for absorption purposes; plants should be multilayered with non invasive and naturally occurring natives; and of wood mulch should be inoculated with fungal types suited to break nutrients down. The runoff of the raingarden will then contain clean and nutritious water that will re enter aquifers or oceans without doing any harm, while continuing the cleaning process on their journey.

With the coming spring months we traditionally receive our highest rainfall averages and therefore can work with this recurring event rather than bemoaning it. There are many ways to capture and use rain, but making sure the water is cleaned is essential for balance of the ecosystem.

Happy springtime to you all,

DD

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