Rain Garden Class

ironbelly1September 23, 2005

The Scott County Master Gardeners are hosting a rain garden workshop.

Saturday, October 8th, 9:00 am to 11:30 am.

Quite frankly, this is not going to be a shallow, fluffy little talk. We will be onsite of three, entirely different types of rain gardens. You won't just be told good information; you will be shown solid information that you can physically look at and actually touch. Photos of the process will be provided by the guy who did the work. He will be available for any questions.

The first third of the presentation will be given by Ray Wolf, who works for the National Weather Service. He will be leading the technical portion of the presentation. Ray has given several presentations for the Certificate Program of The Partners In Horticulture and has consistently been one of the most popular instructors.

The second third of the program will be the step-by-step installation process showing before, during and after photos. The "how to" aspect be addressed as well as providing answers to all of the "why" questions. Common mistakes and oversights will also be explored.

The final portion of the class will be spent out in the rain gardens themselves.

This class is free and open to the public. The only thing that I do ask is that a call be given to the Scott County Extension Office to sign up (563-359-7577) -- just so we have an idea of how many will be attending. However, if someone forgets to sign up, they will not be turned away.

The site of the class will be at my new home in Walcott, Iowa -- 435 W. Parkview Drive. Walcott is a small town, ten minutes west of the Quad Cities on I-80, just south of the huge, Iowa 80 Truckstop. It is a small little town (Trust me, you can't get lost.) and my house is located in the far, northwest corner of town in the new subdivision.

I hope to see you then.

Dan Mays

435 W. Parkview Drive

Walcott, Iowa 52773

ph. 563-284-9025

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The class was a great success. We had 20 students including one landscape architect and the administrator of the Rain Garden Incentive Program from Rock Island, Illinois. It is great to see so many people interested in assuming social responsibility for the storm water that their property is generating. It was fun outlining some effective ways to address that problem while also increasing the beauty of one's property.


    Bookmark   October 9, 2005 at 3:16PM
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uicricket(z5 IA)


Glad to hear you had a great turn out! I wasn't able to find anyone to work for me so I couldn't attend. Just wanted to thank you for giving everyone here the opportunity to attend and learn more. Do you have a couple of books you can recommend on the subject? I'd like to learn more.


    Bookmark   October 11, 2005 at 9:18AM
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It would have been wonderful if you could have made it. I think we are just on the cusp of these practices being much more widely implimented; even on an institutional and municipal scale. Locally, St. Ambrose University in Davenport, is doing some very creative things to address some very old, lingering storm water issues that have plagued their campus (and everyone down stream from them) for years. I also hear about good things at Grinnell College. The folks in Iowa City are starting to also make some inroads. I keep hearing about their "Peninsula Project".

The concept is quite simple: use gravity to transport the storm water already collected by your gutters and coax it into an area where it has a bit of time to soak in. The tricky part (as with any garden) is making it visually appealing throughout the entire year.

I constructed three entirely different types of rain gardens to experiment with planting schemes -- the technical stuff is pretty straightforward. One of the planting schemes was a recommended planting design straight out of the book. Without a doubt, in the "looks department", it comes in dead last -- not ugly but it won't bubble your hormones either. In talking with the architect and his associate designer after class, we all concluded that the designs coming from the "experts" use far too many different plants. When one limits the pallet to perhaps five or six different plants and creates drifts, the effect is much more pleasing. I can show that principle when comparing my own gardens.

Anyway, the best information on this topic will not be found in books but rather in a very nice, 32 page booklet put out by the University of Wisconsin. I ordered these and handed them out at class. However, the very same booklet is online in PDF format, which anyone can download for free. It is non technical and easy to understand with lots of great pictures and diagrams to help one understand. It was created expressly for the average home owner.


Here is a link that might be useful: Rain Garden manual

    Bookmark   October 12, 2005 at 9:07AM
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