rain garden

Climate Change Action of the Month: Depave Paradise

On September 27th and October 4th, St. Margaret Mary Catholic Elementary School and Green Venture, a local not-for-profit, teamed up to host Hamilton’s second and largest Depave Paradise.

On September 27th, a crew of over 30 staff, students, parents, volunteers and members of the community removed over 1400 square feet of asphalt from the schoolyard to increase the school’s green, play space.On October 4th, over 50 volunteers came back to fill the space with a native species rain garden.

This was Green Venture’s biggest Depave Paradise project after Depaving St. Augustine Catholic Elementary School in 2012 and it will add to the over 10,000 square feet depaved across Canada through the Depave Paradise program. To learn more, please visit www.depaveparadise.ca/.

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For pictures from the Depave Day on September 27th, click here. For pictures from the Planting Day on October 4th, click here.
Removing asphalt and concrete renews and beautifies community spaces. Demonstration projects like St. Margaret Mary help to build sense of community and motivate participants to consider other depaving projects. Beyond the community building, the benefits of depaving are numerous. They include:
  • Increasing green, community space by adding in a natural playgrounds, community vegetable gardens, trees, rain gardens, or other permeable surfaces
  • Decreasing the heat island effect to help cool things down
  • Decreasing the runoff of stormwater to lower its impacts on our sewers and help improve our community’s water quality

We would like to give CN EcoConnexions: From the Ground Up and Shell Fuelling Change a huge thank you for their generous support of this project.

Rain Gardens: A Guide to Colour, A Guide to Wildlife

Building rain gardens is a truly wonderful way to minimize the amount of storm water runoff that ends up in to the sewers, and consequently in the Hamilton Harbour.  Strategically placing them in down-sloped areas or underneath downspouts is ideal for limiting the amount of runoff from your property.  However, another factor to consider is how this garden will look, and what type of wildlife you would like to attract.

Blue Flag Iris

Blue Flag Iris

 

In general, birds are attracted to plants that bear fruits and seeds.  Some examples of native rain garden plants that are best suited to birds are High Bush Cranberry, Cardinal Flower, Chokeberry, and fruit-bearing shrubs and trees.

 

Butterflies and bees are attracted to plants with nectars, pollens, and saps to extract.  These insects act as pollinators, moving pollens and nectars so that other plants may flourish.  Some examples of native rain garden species suited to attracting bees and butterflies are Cardinal flower, Sneezeweed, Turtlehead, Bee Balm, Joe Pye Weed, and various types of Milkweed.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird on Cardinal Flower

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird on Cardinal Flower

 

It should be noted that rain gardens will not attract mosquitoes, since they require at least 6 days of standing water to breed, and a properly functioning rain garden will drain in less than 24 hours.  In fact, rain gardens attract other insects, such as dragonflies, which prey on mosquitoes.

 

 

 

Here are some native species that will provide colour and diversity to beneficial native insects and birds:

 

Fox Sedge (Carex  vulpinoides) and other native sedges

Dark-green Bulrush (Scirpus atrovirens)

Soft stem Bulrush (Scirpus validus)

Red Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

Blue flag iris (Iris virginicus)

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilatica)

Golden Alexanders (Zizea aurea)

Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)

Virginia Mountain-mint (Pycnanthemum virginianum)

 

This plant list was provided by St. Williams Nursery.  You can visit their website here: http://www.stwilliamsnursery.com/

 

 

Green Venture is currently involved in the Shell Fuelling Change competition.   Our project will build rain gardens with residents in a neighbourhood that has a history of flooding during intense rainfall.

Every vote counts!

Please help us out in this competition by voting for our program here:

http://fuellingchange.com/main/project/407/Healthy-Harbour-Flood-My-Rain-Garden

 

Posted by Edward

 

 

Flood and Mud: Using Rain Gardens to Control Erosion and Flooding

We have had quite the rainy summer in southern Ontario this year! Have you noticed issues with flooding or soil erosion in your garden? If so, constructing a rain garden may be an excellent way to minimize this problem.

If you live in a particularly hilly area, rain gardens can be an ideal way to minimize flooding issues because they are able to hold more water than a regular garden, and  help to prevent soil from washing away.  Rain gardens can also be used in conjunction with rain barrels to capture substantial runoff from your property.

Rain Gardens at Ecohouse

Rain Gardens at EcoHouse

It’s easy to construct your own rain garden! For details on construction, visit http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/maho/la/la_005.cfm.  Remember, in order to capture the maximum amount of water, try to strategically place your rain garden in depressed areas where water naturally pools or where downspout water will collect.

Once you have constructed your rain garden, it is important to plant native species in it.  Native plants are accustomed to local conditions, and have deeper roots to increase the permeability of your soil.

Foxglove Beardtongue

Foxglove Beardtongue

As your plants mature, their roots continue to spread, increasing the amount of water your garden will be able to hold.  Remember that most water will be stored in the centre of the garden, similar to a large bowl.  Cardinal Flower, Foxglove Beardtongue, Joe Pye Weed and Service Berry are a few examples of plants we have in the middle of our own rain gardens at Green Venture because they favour a wetter environment. For a list of native shrubs and plants, visit http://water.greenventure.ca/rain-gardens.

 

Green Venture is currently involved in the Shell- Fuelling Change competition.   Our aim is to build community awareness and support for lot-level storm water management measures, like rain gardens.

Currently, just over 800 more votes gets us in the top 4! Please help us out in this competition by voting for our program here:

http://fuellingchange.com/main/project/407/Healthy-Harbour-Flood-My-Rain-Garden

 

 

Posted by Edward

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