Monday, September 23, 2013

Scenes from Rec&Ed's Rain Garden Bonanza

After months of planning and many hours of extra work by the dedicated Rec&Ed "Mud Pit" committee, we now have a rain garden outside our front door at 1515 S. Seventh! James Gray of Vert Verde landscape architecture drew a beautiful design featuring native plants that will handle the runoff from our parking lot. Volunteer Jonathan Parker from the Washtenaw County Rain Garden Assistance Program provided lots of support as well.

This fall, we spread the word that we needed donations of about 13 different types of native perennials. The community response was amazing -- local gardeners donated almost 200 plants to the cause.

The Rec&Ed office at 5:00 p.m. on Friday

Thanks to James Gray, Jonathan Parker, Joan Lansdell, Andrew Comai, Myrna Hadwick, Karen Caldwell, Tricia Jones, Jennifer Cosey, Lise Anderson, Kathy Sample, Jack Wallace, Sally Rutzky and Second Nature Gardens and Landscape for their generous donations.

We are also grateful to Best Block Ann Arbor for their donation of boulders and free delivery.

Saturday morning, Rec&Ed staff and community volunteers prepared the rain garden (which had been rototilled and composted in late August) for planting. It was also Pioneer High School's big workday and we snagged a few student volunteers. The fun part started mid-morning, when planting began.

Volunteer Jackie and staff person Sally Searls
Planting strawberries

Pioneer students move boulders
Jonathan and Susan from the
WC Rain Garden Assistance Program
I'm always willing to get my hands dirty

Next time you need to come to Rec&Ed or are just driving by Pioneer, stop by and see the rain garden! The overall plan is on the table in our lobby.

The Rain Garden creation has been a labor of love by a group of dedicated Rec&Ed employees and community volunteers with support from the Pioneer PTSO, Vert Verde Landscape Architecture, the Washtenaw County Rain Garden Assistance Program, Poseidon Ponds and Landscaping, A&M Services, Best Block of Ann Arbor, and Second Nature.   

A commenter asked for more native plant resources. We do offer a Rec&Ed class on Sustainable Landscaping in the spring and are talking with the Washtenaw County Rain Garden Assistance Program about partnering with them to offer some classes this winter.

This is just scratching the service, but here are a few other local native plant resources:
Wild Ones Ann Arbor
City of Ann Arbor - Natural Area Preservation Program 
Native Plant Nursery 
(Commenters: feel free to add more below.)

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  1. We had a great day for planting - blues skies and perfect temperature. Thanks to everyone who turned out to help or supported Rec&Ed with donations!

  2. Looks great! I wish I'd been healthy enough to help plant - that was one of the most rewarding steps of installing my own rain garden.

    1. Tricia, thanks again for your plant donations! Please stop by and see how they're doing anytime. :)

  3. We just planted a rain garden this year in our yard. It is amazing to me how quickly it fills up in a heavy downpour! It really made me understand their function--I have turned from a skeptic to a believer! In fact we are thinking about expanding ours a little bit this coming year... It would be great if you would post some links to rain garden resources. Like--native rain garden plants.

    1. Hi Ruth,
      Glad to hear you've had success with your own rain garden! Last spring, Rec&Ed offered a Sustainable Landscaping class featuring native plants for adults. We're also talking with the Washtenaw County Rain Garden Assistance program about partnering with them for some classes this winter. I've included more resources at the end of the blog. Thanks for your comment!

  4. Looks like a great improvement for the mud pit! It's also nice to see the pic of Susan, who I know from SNRE at UM.

    John Stahly