Seeds of Change: Linnea Lundh

May 22nd, 2014 No Comments

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Coldstream Rain Garden

by Linnea Lundh

Nowadays, you hear people talking about “going green” and helping out the environment. Since we live on Lake Linganore, nature is our neighbor. Lake Linganore is a beautiful lake but we need to take care of it. By “going green”, we are making a commitment to take care of the environment in which we live. There are a lot of ways to do this: you can pick up trash on the common areas; you can avoid using chemicals on your lawns; or just try to do more recycling. But if you want to do even more, installing a rain garden is a great way to naturally clean and protect the environment.

What is a rain garden? A lot of people have heard of rain gardens but don’t really understand its purpose or what it even looks like. A rain garden is a natural filter for water runoff. It looks like any other garden and can be just as beautiful. The difference is the location and the plants that you choose. Rain gardens are located in areas that receive a large amount of rain and standing water. The plants chosen for a rain garden are able to thrive even with the wet soil conditions and high water level. Once these plants are installed, they soak up the runoff water that may have chemicals from lawns or oils from the streets. Rain gardens naturally filter out harmful substances and then the purified water is directed back into the lake.

I am a Girl Scout living in Lake Linganore. I chose to help improve the community by installing a rain garden as my Gold Award Project. On the hill behind the Coldstream Tot Lot is an area that receives heavy water runoff. Christine Dagostino, the Friends of the Lake Chair, and I thought that the addition of a rain garden to this area would help reduce the standing water. With the help of many community members – most particularly, Katie Hager, my Gold Award Advisor, and others, including Barbara Strafford, a retired landscaper; Lorna Patrick, a native plant expert; and Daphne Mathews, a civil engineer – I was able to successfully install a community rain garden for all to see. The plants are not yet fully grown, but they are on their way to helping out the environment, one rain storm at a time.

If you are considering installing a rain garden of your own, here are a few things to consider:

Make sure plants can withstand both wet and dry conditions; consider how much sunlight the area receives; make sure the plants are native and NOT invasive; and make sure these plants are deer resistant. Some plants I chose to include in my project included: cardinal flower, red chokeberry, cinnamon fern, evening primrose, joe-pye weed, and liatris.

Don’t be afraid if the area receives a lot of water. These plants were chosen because they can soak up more water than other plants

Consider the plant layout. Design is important for a beautiful and natural-looking rain garden

Remember, for the most part, a rain garden will maintain itself. Occasional watering may be necessary, but after the installation, little effort is required.

Be sure to stop by the Coldstream Tot Lot/Basketball area next time you take a walk to check out my rain garden. Maybe my project will inspire you to “Go Green!”

Special thanks to all the companies that donated soil and plants, and supported the installation of the rain garden here in Lake Linganore:

Meadow Farms, Frederick, MD
D.R. Snell’s, Mt. Airy, MD
Glade Valley Nursery, Walkersville, MD
RELS Landscaping, Frederick, MD
Snell’s Greenhouses, Mt Airy, MD

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