Perhaps the reason I became so fascinated with all the landscaping around Columbia Association (CA) was that I wanted to duplicate the beauty and simplicity I saw around CA facilities and apply it to my own garden. This especially became true when I went around Columbia with John McCoy, CA’s watershed manager. He showed me rain gardens that had been installed in people’s private yards. They are simply beautiful and serve an important function as well. Rain gardens slow down and filter rainwater and then release it slowly, reducing the pollutants entering the local streams and lakes.
The first home we visited was that of Sarah, who writes “Sarah Says” blog. I had met Sarah briefly at the Connecting Columbia meeting, so I already knew she was an interesting, environmentally concerned resident of CA. Now, I found her even coolerl! She has a beautiful rain garden in front of her Columbia resident townhome.
The morning we visited her yard to view the maturing rain garden, the butterflies decided to put on a show. It was such a lovely, little garden, ever so much more appealing than a grassy postage-stamp-sized front yard.
It was a great start to our morning of viewing rain gardens. Later I discovered her blog post about the installation of the rain garden under the testimonials on the Watershed Management website.
The next stop was to a rain garden installed just the day before very near my home. At this home, the homeowners wanted to install a rain garden because they had water issues, which are common to my property and for many CA residents. They live on the slope of a hill. The rain collected from the neighbor’s gutters spilled into their yard. Their own gutters spilled into the other neighbor’s yard down the slope. And so it went all the way down the hill until the runoff hits Wilde Lake, with nothing stopping the rushing flow. The home owners learned of the rain garden cost share program available to residents in Long Reach, Owen Brown and Wilde Lake and decided to give it a try.
That’s what rain gardens are all about — slowing the flow. If we slow the rainfall runoff, we will keep our water supplies cleaner as well as decrease the frequency of dredging of our lakes. They also make our neighborhoods more beautiful.
Am I going to get one for my own sloped yard? I sure hope so! It will feel good to help with the environment, but I will also love the beauty it adds to my yard.
Melissa Sinclair works in the Communications & Engagement Division at Columbia Association (CA). Melissa recently moved to Columbia with her three-generation family. She has lived in more than a dozen cities and is looking forward to making Columbia, Md., her permanent home! Over the past year she has worked on losing weight, getting fit and doing volunteer work; she is now looking forward to working for CA after staying home with her family for the last several years. Melissa has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and a master’s degree in educational administration. Click here to read more of Melissa’s Getting to Know CA series.