DRC promotes rain gardens in Dundalk
Wednesday, 12 December 2012 10:47

Gardens aid drainage, cut down on floods

by Nicole Rodman

    For residents in many parts of Dundalk, even a minor rain storm can lead to property-destroying floods.
    One way in which such flooding can be reduced is through the planting of a rain garden.    
    Last Tuesday, Dundalk Renaissance Corporation (DRC) watershed coordinator Jacqueline Murray showed residents how to plant such a garden during a demonstration plating event at Peter Rabbit Day Nursery on Dunmanway.
    Breaking ground early in the afternoon, Murray was joined by volunteers, including Watersedge resident Tyler Godsey.

    With unseasonably warm temperatures, Murray and her volunteers were able to shed their jackets as they worked to plant Peter Rabbit’s new rain garden.
    According to Murray, the idea to do a demonstration garden at Peter Rabbit first came from DRC greening coordinator Phillip McKnight.
    McKnight was jogging past the daycare center when he noticed that the storm drain funneled water from the gutters directly into the corner of the daycare’s yard.
    As area residents have pointed out, during heavy rains the water from the gutters sometimes flows from the yard, flooding the adjacent sidewalk.
    Seeing the perfect spot for a rain garden, McKnight told Murray, who got to work.
    According to Murray, rain gardens are designed to soak up excess water during a rain storm, reducing or eliminating flooding in the area.
    “For people who experience flooding in their basement, a rain garden is a great tool,” Murray explained last week.
    The garden, filled with native, drought-resistant plant species such as switchgrass, black-eyed susans and winter berry holly, were purchased at a deep discount from Poor Boy’s Garden Center on German Hill Road.
    As Murray noted during remarks to The Eagle last week, rain gardens not only prevent flooding but reduce the amount of water flowing into storm drains.
    As Murray pointed out, water that flows into Dundalk storm drains ends up in Bear Creek. Too much water could tax the watershed, harming environmental health.
    In order to ensure that the garden will offer sufficient drainage, Murray and her volunteers will mix the clay dirt soil with sand, creating a lighter, more porous mixture that will allow water to drain into the ground more efficiently.
     Once the rain garden at Peter Rabbit is completed, it will be a beautiful, yet highly functional, addition to the property.
    According to Murray, the DRC will plant rain gardens for any resident who requests one.
    Costs, which range from around $100 to $200, will be split between the DRC and the homeowner.
    Additionally, free trees can be obtained by the Dundalk Renaissance Corporation for planting on residential property.
    For more information on rain gardens and free trees from the DRC, visit www.dundalkusa.org or call 410-282-0261.