Updated: Jan 22
Good Day Folks.
Weather here in mid January in Pennsylvania does not allow for “my” outdoor living routine (gardening), and that is o.k.. This down time allows me to anticipate, plan, and dream a bit about the upcoming season. If you are like me, however, the exciting new ideas and plans always tend to take a back seat to ‘what takes precedence’. The dreaded ‘To do’ list. You know, those maintenance issues that are not as much fun: staining the decks, and cleaning the moss off the north side of the house, for example.
What excites me currently is solving the rainwater issues by designing a new Rain Garden for below the barn, a.k.a. La Ferme Rouge. Weddings are sometimes planned behind the barn as a ceremony backdrop. Too much rain before makes the lawn soggy for guests.
Since we’ve been here, the downspouts on all four corners of the 70 x 70 barn fall straight down, draining onto the ground. The top two downspouts cause problems inside from runoff flowing down and into the foundation. The bottom two spouts flow right out into the lawn and apple orchard behind. With any substantial rain….that is a lot of water.
The modern solution to this abundance of run-off is a RAIN GARDEN. Cities are incorporating them into curbs and lots to solve the problem of clogged drains from rain water washing debris, silt, and gravel. With the amount of parking lots, roads, and hard-scapes, the rainwater washes into drains. The drains carry debris to larger waterways that eventually get a build up of silt and debris. Both causing endless maintenance issues and expense.
The Rain Garden concept captures the runoff before it can get to those drains. It captures by excavating down and layering gravel, sand, and straw underneath the sub and topsoil to create an underground catch basin. **The perfect solution to dry out the barn foundation and orchard.
By connecting and burying the downspouts, I will run them into and under a beautifully designed rain garden along the edge of the parking lot. My plan is to incorporate trees, shrubs, and flowers tolerant of moisture, and a 6’ wide walk-way inviting guests from the parking lot into the lawn and ceremony site, It’s a win win. I cannot wait to get started!
Aside from the rain garden plan, each year I add new colors by way of annuals and perennials to use for fresh cut flowers, wreaths, preserving, floral designs, and wedding flowers. Edible flowers are a weakness of mine, so some edibles like Zinnias, Nasturtium, Borage, and my beloved Amaranth are constants here. New additions to liven up the vegetable beds and my salads will be ‘White Kilimanjaro’ African Marigold, Trailing Nasturtium, and ‘Outhouse’ Hollyhocks.
My seeds are ordered from Botanical Interests. They have an abundance of quality flower and vegetable seeds, both Organic and Heirloom that I incorporate into new areas of our gardens. I take advantage of the free shipping and look forward to the free and beautiful calendar.
I am particularly passionate about the annuals that reseed themselves. The gardens here are extensive and to get the best ‘showstoppers’, and the ‘show-goes-on’ flowers, re-seeders like Amaranth, Cosmos, Sunflowers, Sweet Annie, and Sweet Peas are some favorites.
I start most seeds right in the flower beds. But with so many deer about, some are sown and protected inside to get a head start. To deter those deer and rabbits, fragrant Lavender, Sweet Annie, and Ivory Soap seem to work the best.
For consistent heat and a better start for my seedlings, I use a VIVOSUN Durable Waterproof Seedling Heat Mat Warm Hydroponic Heating Pad 48" x 20.75". What a difference that makes in my little starter shed.
For all of you chomping at the bit to get out in your garden, I am sure you can relate when I say...........Relax while you can! Until next time....grow wise.