Rain Garden Network Newsletter v4.5 - Summer 2009
Different Shades of Shade
We often tell people that rain gardens do best in full sun or partial sun/shade. This is often true but often the term “shade” is relative. A little shade or partial shade is a great thing. It allows for cooling opportunities for you, your home and yard. And it allows gardeners to grow a wider variety of plants. But if there are too many trees or the trees grow too large for the garden or the neighborhood the resulting deep shade will kill plants and grassesbelow them. Trees are great but they need to be cared for and that care should include trimming, shaping and even removal when necessary.
Consider the ratio of trees and open areas in your yard or neighborhood. Plants that require partial sun or partial shade are looking for 3 to 6 hours of sun per day although the position of the sun and time of day might change. Dappled shade is similar to partial shade with an emphasis on filtering the sun with leaves and branches. But deep shade indicates less than 3 hours of direct sunlight and generally filtered sunlight throughout the day. Message: Cutting and trimming trees is not a sin.
“Greening Your Neighborhood”
Rain Garden Network is encouraging neighbors to get together with us for a Neighborhood Walking Workshop. Similar to our personal on-site visits where we come to your home and review your best options for positioning and installing a rain garden, rain barrel and other types of rainwater management techniques.
We are happy to walk with you and your group of chosen neighborhood buddies and review your properties or the neighborhood in general and identify as many of the sustainable practices and techniques involving preserving and conserving water, reducing air, water and land pollution, creating habitat for birds, butterflies, bees and other beneficial insects and addressing some of the issues that will reduce an individual's contribution to climate change as possible.
Contact us for our base one-hour and half-day visits. We leave you with a check-off list of identified elements, a secret link to Rain Garden Network Workshop attendees with expanded information, important links and qualified resources.
So contact your neighbors and friends and let’s walk your neighborhood. Available in Chicago and NW Suburban areas. firstname.lastname@example.org
“Educate and Infiltrate”
What do the homeowners and residents in your community know about controlling storm water runoff?
Probably, not much.
What do you think they know about how they can reduce their contribution to storm water runoff?
Probably, not much.
What can homeowners and residents do to help your municipality reduce or eliminate the large qualities of storm water and pollutants from stressing the sewer system, polluting our waterways and creating issues with local flooding?
Probably, a lot!
Let’s help the homeowners and residents of your community understand and practice all the simple techniques they can employ in and around their home to reduce local flooding & stormwater runoff.
Rain Garden Network can help you. Local and regional lecture & hands-on education, outreach and activity assistance.
“It’s All About The Water”
Whenever we speak to people at events we always try to ask: “Where does your drinking water come from?” and “Where does it go after use?” Most people know where their water comes from (but a good number don’t) but very few think about where it goes after they use it.
Living in Chicago really helps a person to understand the movement of fresh, potable water. Every citizen in this area who uses “ Chicago water” should know the journey that Lake Michigan water makes on its way to the Gulf of Mexico through a series of pipes, treatment centers, sewers and rivers. More soon ....
Here are three plants that work well in and around a rain garden and require no municipal water to grow. Photos
Butterfly Milkweed – Asclepias tuberosa, can stand 2’ tall and is most notable for the bright orange flower clusters that appear in mid to late June and the slender seed pods that follow. Because of the beautiful color and high nectar content the flowers attracts butterflies, especially Monarchs, throughout the growing season. The plant requires a very well-drained sandy or gravelly soil in full sun.
Wild Bergamot – Monarda fistulosa, has lance-shaped leaves and a light green, four-sided stem and is 2.5’ – 4’ tall. Atop the stems are “explosions” of a flower about 1”-3" across. Each flower is lavender or pink, and about 1" long, with an irregular shape. Wild bergamot grow best in dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade and blooms in July and August.
Purple Coneflower – Echinacea purpurea, stands nearly 3.5’ tall and has leaves that can be 6" long and 3" across. The center is a yellowish brown or reddish brown cone can be quite large and of varying shape, surrounded by 10-20 purple daisy-like petals about 3-4" across. The plant enjoys moist to medium, black soil, full sun to partial shade and blooms from June to August.
Questions or comments? Email us at email@example.com
“Building Sustainable Neighborhoods”
This is a place where all people, no matter your community, no matter your profession, can learn tips and techniques that will improve your household and your neighborhood.
We think that being sustainable is more than just dealing with energy issues. Neighborhoods and households face challenges and want answers for common issues such as: everyday pollution in their streets, greening their landscape, conserving water, choosing transportation alternatives, planning for household recycling, waste reduction, eating well and where to shop locally.
We are looking for interested people and interesting stories. Please feel free to visit the site, post your videos and email your thoughts as they relate to your life as an environmental “expert”.
Questions or comments? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org