By ANNE PEARSON, For The Capital Published 07/04/09
Summer is undeniably a time when our spirits surge with the joy of new life, a time to visit and consider how each of us, residents, businesses, churches and schools, can join in a dedicated renewal of life in the creeks and rivers we hold dear. Courtesy photo The rain garden at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Crofton is shown during a rainfall.
May I suggest an eye-opening, inspiring visit to some outstanding urban rain gardens? For redevelopers: A miniature stream valley, created on land provided by Westfield Annapolis and funded by Chesapeake Bay Trust and National Fish & Wildlife Foundation. The garden is an outstanding example for urban redevelopers of revitalization of compacted soils, restoring their natural capacity to absorb and infiltrate the rain shed by roads and rooftops. For the demonstration, we selected a struggling patch of grass between rows of trees at the food court and movie entrance to the mall off Jennifer Road.
With a small backhoe, we dug through buried asphalt and discarded sidewalk between the two rows of trees, leaving their roots undisturbed. By digging compost into the underlying clay soils, we achieved infiltration for road runoff that flows into the rain garden through cutouts in the curbs. We planted and mulched river birch, sweetbay magnolia, bayberry, winterberry, cardinal flower, aster, joe pye weed, goldenrod and other natives.