The Plant Professionals
16886 Turner Street
Lansing, MI 48906
Fax: (517) 327-0299
8 a.m.- 5 p.m. M-F
Also by Appointment
Rain and Bog Gardens
Rain gardens are a planted depression or excavation that allows rainwater runoff from impervious areas, like roofs, walkways, parking lots, and compacted lawns the opportunity to be absorbed. Rain gardens are designed to temporarily hold and soak in rainwater, and should drain within 12-48 hours. This type of garden is not a wetland, and is dry most of the time. A great rain garden benefit is water runoff collects pollutants such as fertilizer, chemicals, oil, garbage, and bacteria.
The pollutant-laden water enters storm drains, and into nearby streams and ponds. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that pollutants carried by rainwater runoff account for 70% of all water pollution. Rain gardens are very effective in removing up to 90% of nutrients and 80% of sediments from rainwater runoff, by collecting the runoff and allowing the water to be filtered by vegetation, and then percolate into the soil, recharging groundwater aquifers.
When designing your rain garden, use drought-tolerant plants, keeping in mind that there may be standing water for periods of time. Whenever possible, use native plants. A great example of rain gardens that are primarily planted with native plants are the rain gardens lining Michigan Avenue and Washington Square in downtown Lansing.
Information on creating your own rain garden can be found at this link:
Bog gardens employ permanently moist, but not waterlogged soil, to create a habitat for plants and creatures to thrive in wet conditions. A bog garden can be the perfect adaptation for a leaky pond, or it can be used as a beautiful and informal edge to an existing pond. Bog gardens can also be created in small containers, or encouraged in areas of the garden that naturally have poor drainage.
When designing your bog garden, keep in mind that small areas are easier to create and maintain. If you desire a large bog garden, you will need to plan for access, using walkways or stepping stones. To construct your garden, dig a hole about 2 feet deep and as wide as you like. Line the hole with pond liner, leaving 12 inches or more around the edge to accommodate any settling. Poke holes around the edge at the depth of 1 foot approximately 3 feet apart. The soil in the bog garden needs to stay moist, but not completely saturated or it will lack oxygen and will stagnate. Fill the hole with a mixture of 30% course sand and 70% compost and native soil. Place plants that thrive in bogs, preferably native, and water very well. Some gardeners suggest installing a buried soaker hose just under the soil for ease of keeping the garden consistently moist in the heat of the summer.
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