In May of 2017 I received a call about a photo of a rain garden I had designed. The caller was seeking permission to use the photo to gloss the cover of the June 2017 issue of Digger magazine. This was very exciting and of course I granted them permission.
Digger is a publication that serves nurseries of the Pacific Northwest. The cover story from this issue, “Next level rain gardens” focuses on storm water management and underutilized plants that can be used in rain gardens and other storm water management systems.
I was of course elated to have my work on the cover of a magazine. It was even more exciting to have the focus of that photo be a rain garden. As these are an element of the landscape I very much enjoy designing. Not only can they be very beautiful, but the function they can serve in that landscape and the environment as a whole is out standing.
A rain garden is a planting area situated in a depression in the ground. The soil beneath the rain garden is amended to enable efficient drainage of the water back into the water table for use down the road. The rain garden is planted with a combination of plants that can handle moist soil or wet feet and plants that are drought tolerant. Because as Portlanders we know that we get very little rain in July and August, when we need it most.
Blue Arrow Rush planted in the basin of the rain garden
One of my favorite plants for use in a rain garden is Blue Arrows Rush, Juncus Inflexus. I like this plant for a variety of reasons. For starters it has a very elegant dark green color and a relatively upright growing habit. Additionally it is very tolerant of moist to wet soil, but can also thrive during the dry conditions we experience in the heart of summer.
Rain gardens are a great addition to the landscape. If you are considering installing one I recommend that you take a look at the Oregon Rain Garden Guide. Also, it goes without saying, Wheel & Barrow Landscape Design and Maintenance would be excited to design and maintain a rain garden for you. Feel free to contact us should you have an interest in a rain garden.