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Friday, September 25, 2009

The Buena Vista Garden, by Yarddawg

Rain Gardens

Rain gardens for urban homeowners are gaining popularity as more and more people become aware of the impact of water quality and water runoff issues. Did you know installing a rain garden can help reduce some of the extra water running off our properties and prevent pollutants from entering storm drains and eventually streams and rivers? A properly constructed and maintained rain garden is a bowl like depression in the ground designed to capture rainwater runoff from your rooftop and driveway and allow the water to slowly seep into the ground within 24 hours or so. Contrary to popular belief, a properly installed rain garden does not create a breeding ground for mosquitoes. The plants, mulch, and soil in the rain garden work together in filtering pollutants from the runoff and safely break down in the soil over time.

Did you also know residents of Forsyth County can purchase a rain garden kit (while supplies last) for only $60.00. The kit contains the following:

* 21 plants
* Professional design plan
* Easy to follow installation Instructions
* Free on-site assistance to ensure proper site placement to optimize performance*

Contact Wendi Hartup for the rain garden kits or just to learn more about them or other water issues. Wendi is Area Environmental Specialized Agent (Environmental issues, Wildlife, Ponds) for Forsyth County and will, upon request, come to your property and show you the best place to install the rain garden, answer questions, and provide many other details on rain gardens. The best part is there is no charge for this site evaluation. Wendi is located at the Forsyth County Agricultural Building at 1450 Fairchild Road, Winston-Salem and can be contacted at 336-703-2850. Wendi is also an excellent source to speak with if you are considering adding rain barrels or a cistern to your house. She is also an expert creek stomper to boot Esbee. And, because she's from Kansas, is a recovering Yankee, saved only because she was educated in the deep south - Auburn University - which makes her OK by me.

For another option, homeowners can also contact the NC Division of Soil and Water Conservation to find out how to qualify for the Community Conservation Assistance Program (CCAP) which is a 75% cost share program for cisterns greater than 250 gallons or for more rain garden info or help with wetland issues etc. The local office is also located in the Forsyth County Agricultural Building and the telephone number is the same as listed above.

How does the CCAP work? “Interested homeowners submit applications to their local soil and conservation districts. Applications will be ranked on local water quality priorities. If eligible, a conservation plan for the applicant to install the best management practice (BMP and a landscaper may be used). The landowner may be reimbursed for up to 75% of the pre-established average cost of the BMP”. Confused? Me too, so I clicked here for more information.

Happy rain gardening,
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