RAIN GARDEN CARE A GUIDE FOR RESIDENTS AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONSTABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 How to use this guide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Organize your rain garden care . . . . . . . . . .5 Weeding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Watering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Plant care . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Keep the water flowing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Soils and mulch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Troubleshooting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Quick-start guide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR NEW RAIN GARDEN! You have a beautiful and functional landscape where the soil, plants, and mulch partner to absorb and filter urban runoff, and keep it from harming our local waters. Your hard-working landscape will need some care throughout the year, but your time commitment will still be less than what you spent on lawn care during the spring and summer months. This guide will show you the simple steps needed to keep your rain garden looking great and working well. Your original rain garden design determines the ongoing rain garden care. A few mantras for design include, “right plant — right place,” and “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” For a rain garden that means choosing plants that complement each other and your yard. Keep in mind that your original rain garden design can be changed over time, as you see how the plants grow. RAIN GARDEN CARE 12 A GUIDE FOR RESIDENTS AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS Your rain garden is part of a growing network of “green stormwater solutions” that beautifies our communities and keeps polluted runoff out of our waterways. By building a rain garden you are protecting Puget Sound.HOW TO USE THIS GUIDE This guide offers you timesaving tips, a “care calendar,” and guidance on how to get answers to your maintenance questions. It is organized around a few simple icons that organize tasks by the times they need to be done each year. The guide also contains a “Quick Start Guide” to help you get started. RAIN GARDEN CARE 3 WINTERSPRINGSUMMER FALL OBSERVEWATER FLOW MULCHWEEDINGWATERINGThe care calendar is found in the Quick Start Guide, and shows tasks that should be done on a monthly, quarterly or semi-annual basis. Homeowners can work by themselves or organize neighborhood work parties to help care for roadside or community rain gar- dens as a group. You will find tips and techniques for rain garden care, as well as important information such as how to get wood chip mulch or refreshments donated Within each community, city, or county, there are several ways you can reach out for assis- tance if you run into questions or concerns about your rain garden. Look in the Resources section at the end of this handbook to find the Gardening Hotline, the Washington State University Extension Rain Garden Mentors and Master Gardeners, and Stewardship Partners’ 12,000 Rain Gardens resources page. Retail stores, local nurseries, and organizations such as Stewardship Partners and your county’s Conservation District offer free classes and assistance to people who want to learn more about rain garden care. Over time, our combined efforts will help make rain gardens as common as recy- cling, refillable beverage containers, or reusable shopping bags. Please give us feedback as you use this guide, and let us know what additional information you need or how we can improve this guide. Please contact: info@stewardshippartners.org or info@cleanwaterkitsap.org. 4 A GUIDE FOR RESIDENTS AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONSRAIN GARDEN CARE 5 • Wheelbarrow or rolling trash can • Tarps BEFORE AND AFTER PHOTOS It’s a great idea to take photos of your rain garden through the different seasons to see how it grows and changes over time. Imagine what a sense of accomplishment you’ll feel after seeing a photo before you begin a weeding effort, and then another photo from the same angle once you are done. You’ll be amazed what a big difference a little bit of time can make. Take a group photo if you had help — people love to celebrate their hard work! MAKE IT A PARTY! If you are part of a rain garden “cluster”, or a community rain garden or Green Street, talk with your neighbors and organize a date together a couple times each year to tackle these rain garden care tasks as a group. Make a simple flyer and send out an email invitation. With two or more people you can each take on a specific task or each work in a different area of the rain garden. These strategies will make the work go much faster! If you want to 6 A GUIDE FOR RESIDENTS AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS go after grant funding for neighborhood-scale projects, keep track of how many volunteers worked and for how long they worked for future reference. If you are organizing a group of volunteers, it’s nice to offer some refreshments to say ”thank you” for their service. At the minimum, provide some water, but things like coffee, tea, doughnuts, fruit, or granola bars are crowd-pleasers. Rather than buying wasteful bottled water, use a pitcher and reusable cups. HOW TO ASK FOR DONATIONS Ask at your local grocery store if they can donate pastries, fruit or snack bars to your rain garden project volunteer work party. Most store managers are able to donate to community projects if they know volunteers are working for a cause. If they donate, be sure to send them a thank you note and include a photo of volunteers working — this will help build a relationship if you want to ask them for donations in the future. Coffee is a big crowd-pleaser. Ask at your local coffee shop whether they can donate to your event in exchange for thanking them during the event or acknowledging them on event materials. If you are organizing a big event and need gloves, tools or other materials, it’s worth asking the manager of your local hardware store. Keep track of your donors so you can announce your supporters at the work party. WHO TO ASK FOR MORE HELP The References section of this guide is a list of organizations that can provide assistance if you have questions about identifying weeds, how to care for native plants, or about pests or plant disease. If you feel overwhelmed because you are not physically able to do the work of caring for your rain garden, reach out to local churches, service organizations, schools, Boy and Girl Scout troops or other neighborhood groups who might want to volunteer and learn about rain gardens in the process. GRANT WRITING FOR LARGER PROJECTS You may have bigger ideas and want to raise funds to build larger rain garden clusters in your neighborhood, improve drainage at a local park or school, or get other residential streets to “go green.” There are many grant opportunities out there. Contact your local City, County, Conservation District, or other jurisdiction about grants available to commu- nity organizations. RAIN GARDEN CARE 7 WEEDING Many weeds thrive wherever they grow and can even be pretty. Some weeds invade through underground roots or runners, and others by seeds spread by wind, water, birds and other animals. Invasive weeds overrun our parks, trails, lakes and waterways. Rain gardens will still work even if they have weeds growing in them, but your rain garden plants will not grow as well because weeds will compete with or overshadow them. Rain gardens are also much more attractive without weeds. In Western Washington, you will most likely see Dandelions, Himalayan Blackberry, Morning Glory (also known as Bindweed), grass from lawns, and Buttercup in your rain garden. From left: Grass from lawns, Himalayan Blackberry, Dandelion, Morning Glory (Bindweed) and ButtercupNext >

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