Rain Garden Update

Wednesday, June 27, 2007 | 0 Comments

I have been extremely busy the last couple of weeks - work, work, get togethers, landlording, and lots of gardening.

In particular, SSB and I have been working on the rain garden. We finally tracked down our contract which was approved two months ago but the DNR guy neglected to give to us. As our neighbor says, "Never trust the government."

What exactly is a rain garden? The idea of a rain garden is to make a place for the water that falls on your property to collect and be used up by plants rather than running into the storm drains. Rain gardens normally use native plants since they are the best adapted to your property's particular conditions. I really liked that idea and took it as a challenge. My plan is to take a garden that can look rather boring

that uses plants that can look rather weedy

both pictures from www.urbanwaterquality.org

and make it appealing to the average homeowner.

We were given a design for the garden which looked very much like the design you see in the first picture above. I'm not too big on all these doughnut or kidney shaped rain gardens. Every rain garden that was on the demonstration list we were given was either doughnut or kidney shaped - OR BOTH! They just end up looking so unnatural and boring; whereas I prefer more natural looking layouts with some excitement. -And spirals, apparently, as the design that I came up with will be the second spiral garden on our property.

This is a "Before". I already started a garden here that I had been expanding over the years. At least 2/3 of the material in the garden needed to be removed (I gave them all new homes).

Here we have begun the lay out. I like to study a site for a while, then just start digging. The site will guide me as to the shape the garden should be. It's more divining than designing.

Most of the rain garden guides that I read mentioned an option for over-flow. They suggested a drain of some kind. I decided that, since the whole purpose of the garden was to keep water from draining off my property into our river, a holding pit made more sense. This pit will house the marshier plants that we purchased. It is the spirally part of the garden.

There is SSB watering the plants that we just purchased and laid out in the design. We purchased small plants so we could afford to get more of them, and they tend to transplant better when they are small. These should fill in nicely in a couple of months.
Here you can see the river idea that I was going for. The basin will be filled in with layers of sand, pea gravel, and progressively larger rocks once the plants are dug in. Right now, the rocks are serving to keep the plant pots from tipping over while we lay them out.

Are you ready for the dramatic Before & After?

Nice change, huh? Some of the plants in this picture were ones left from the original bed. They were either wildflower volunteers (like buttercups, goldenrod and daisies) or they were wildflowers that I had planted there myself. SSB and I did all the design ourselves and we did almost all the work too (the DNR guy helped dig for about an hour one day).

We still have a little more to do, but I think we might reach my goal of having it done by July 4th!


sideshow bob said...

Hooray - you remembered before and after pictures!

Shannon said...

Awesome! It still amazes me that things just grow in other places. I love it.

Mrs. Loquacious said...

Looks awesome...and I can tell it took lots of hard work and heart to create this wonderful eco-garden. :)Love the idea and when I am rich and own a home with greenery, I will totally steal your idea! :)

lindsaylobe said...

The rain garden is a wonderful idea !!
I had to come up with a list of 5 thinking bloggers, and yours with such geart ideas came to mind.

Hence I have decided to award your blog the award of a ”Thinking Blogger. “

Take a look at my blog and the origin of the meme should you wish to join in and tag another 5 thinking bloggers.

Best wishes

Evil Spock said...

So much science involved, brain is spinning . ..

I'm lucky to keep grass alive.

Sylvana said...


Shannon, and it amazes me that you forget. You haven't spent your whole life in the desert, have you? Poor girl.

Mrs. Loquacious, ooooh! I feel rich now!

Lindsay, aw, thanks! I like to think of myself as a thinking person.

Evil Spock, luckily the DNR guy did all the calculations for square footage so we didn't have to hurt our brains!

hellbunny said...

It will look amazing im sure.Ive never heard of it before today though.

The Doc said...

Oh man, I love "Sy's Garden Pictures"! You give me all this inspiration that is useless since I don't have a backyard. But it looks lovely as always!

Sylvana said...

HellBunny, it will be our best garden ever.

The Doc, that makes me so happy to here that! I love sharing my garden with other people - except that bitch that stole my tulips this spring!

Conversations At Our House v.25

Wednesday, June 13, 2007 | 0 Comments

Driving back from the grocery store:

Sy: Go Speed Racer, Go!

SSB: Did you know that's going to be a movie?

Sy: Yeah.

SSB: Live action too. John Goodman is going to be in it. He's the dad.

Sy: There was a dad?

SSB: Yeah he was the guy with the mustache. Don't you remember him?

Sy: No. I actually don't remember much.

SSB: Do you remember his brother?

Sy: He had a brother?

SSB: How about the monkey?

Sy: Yes, I remember the monkey. Wasn't he the mechanic?

SSB: And the girl? There was girl, his girlfriend -- or was it his sister?

Sy: Oh, yeah I remember her too. But I don't remember dialogs or plots or anything else besides Speed Racer, the monkey and the girl.

SSB: Maybe John Goodman is his uncle. Didn't Speed Racer's parents die in a car crash? There was also a character Racer X. He followed Speed around getting in his business, but some thought he was his father.

Sy: If he was his father, why would he spend all his time following him around irritating him.

SSB: He was an asshole?

Sy: [as Racer X] "Speed Racer, I didn't actually die in that fiery car crash; I'm just an asshole."

** SSB and Sy actually don't know jack about Speed Racer, but we think our story is better than the original.


Mrs. Loquacious said...

Heehee...that was cute. Hubbs and I have conversations like this too, except that he usually knows all the geeky trivia and I just look sorta dumb at the end of the discussion. :P

Evil Spock said...

Chim-Chim and Spreidel! That was the little bro and the monkey!

Magnum PO said...


Live action, baby.

Sylvana said...

Mrs. Loquacious, I play up my ignorance as part of my schtick.

Evil Spock, Chim-Chim is an odd name for a brother. But that's the Japanese for you ;)

Magnum PO, welcome to my blog and thanks for the awesome pic!

Flubberwinkle said...

Thanks for the heads up on the movie.
I hope the actor is as dreamy as the cartoon character was... Yes, yes. I had a crush on Speed Racer when I was a kid. Isn't that normal?

Heather said...

When I was little I had a Matchbox car that I thought was the coolest thing ever and years later I was watching Speed Racer and went, "That's my Matchbox car!!!" I never knew...it kind of took the cool out of it for me. :P And your idea is GREAT!

hellbunny said...

Well since don't know anything either i'd believe anything you told me.

Sylvana said...

Flubberwinkle, ah, my blog is informative as well as fun.

Heather, when I was young I thought The General Lee was a cool car. Not now.

Hellbunny, excellent!