by Mark Shimasaki, Olbrich Horticulturist
Here in Wisconsin, we're fortunate to live
in a water-rich part of the country. However, we've probably all
heard news reports of declining levels of underground fresh water
aquifers around the state. Besides conserving water, we can help
by directing rainwater from hard surfaces, such as house roofs, into
areas where it can infiltrate the ground and recharge these aquifers.
As homeowners and gardeners, rain gardens can be our contribution
to preserving this valuable natural resource.
A rain garden is simply
a shallow depression in the yard planted with hardy perennials. The
run-off from roof down spouts is channeled into the depression, where
it slowly filters into the ground rather than running off into the
storm sewer system. The depressions are generally less than six inches
deep and easy to dig, especially since the removed soil can be used
to form a low berm around the perimeter of the depression.
on the soil type and sun exposure of the site, a diverse mixture
of native perennial wildflowers and grasses is then planted and should
flourish with minimal care.
Information on determining the size and
placement of the rain garden as well as appropriate plants for the
site can be found in books and on the web.
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