I did a bid for a rain garden in Minneapolis today. Yes, we landscapers work on Sundays too, especially in a tough economy. It turned out we were standing in the back yard of the client’s house in the rain. Finally, some rain for our Minnesota rain gardens! I checked the depth of the moisture after the clouds broke and it was only 1/2 inch. A couple of hours of wind later, only 1/4 inch of retained moisture. That’s the reason our gardens don’t all look lush, inspite of the nice, gradual spring: no water. It will come though, and when it does, my little green conscience wants that rain garden ready!
I also planned out a new rain garden area for my own yard which began with a good long look at the yard. I have plenty of plants, and plenty of run-off from the gutters and the peaks of the roofs of both my neighbor’s house and mine. Location is not really the question. What is? My husband wants to put in a tool shed, and I want it to have a “green roof”. The debate is on as to location of the shed. My city lot has limited options, since I don’t want to offend my nextdoor neighbor by blocking her kitchen window view with a small building.
So, it looks like I’ll be opting for a back corner of the back yard for the shed and between our houses for a shared rain garden. That’s going to mean digging out some old shrubs that I’ve been ignoring in that back corner, since they aren’t thriving anyway. It will also mean taking out the mini-pond and building a bigger newer one at the other side of the back yard, within view of both my patio and her kitchen. One thing always leads to another, doesn’t it? The preparation work is always more than the actual installation, too. And it’s not just the gross shrubs. There are several dozen hostas and an ornamental weeping Cherry tree in the way. My husband is antsy to get started, but with the landscape season now in full swing, I don’t see actual shed construction in my own yard happening until June.
In the mean time, there’s plenty of daily gardening. I’ve been watering lightly with the hose a couple of times a week, so my gardens are a little more green than those who have waited. So far, in the shade, the Elizabeth Magnolia is swelling its buds, as are the azalea and tree peonies. Pulmonaria buds are streatching out on their flower stems, coral bells are getting the color back in their leaves, and the wild ginger has popped its sharply folded leaves up off the forest floor. One red trillium is back, but no sign of the white or yellow ones yet. The hostas that get a little sun are very close to the surface, but those in deep shade are sound asleep. If you live in the Metro area and are in need of hostas or daylilies this year, let me know. I have many varieties available. They did so well, that by mid-summer last season, I could hardly find room to walk!
I’ve begun tearing out the granite path on the east side of the house to make room for expanded flower beds, but am debating the more appropriate medium to use for the replacement path. My goal is to allow more rainwater to percolate into the soil, rather than the sheeting run-off from the granite. I’d love to hear from you about what has or hasn’t worked for your garden paths. People are so creative!
LOL, Yah, you betcha!
Kathy Grubbs/ The Garden Lady
Minnesota Rain Gardens
1223 Dayton Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55104