Rain gardens are an excellent and proven way to limit run off from entering our storm sewers and streams. In addition to helping reduce nonpoint source pollution such as litter, fertilizer, and animal waste (from pets or livestock) from entering our waterways, rain gardens can be an attractive way to address these challenges, particularly where urban-related runoff is a problem.
For the past decade, Bluegrass Greensource has been educating Central Kentucky homeowners about the benefits of rain gardens, in addition to providing the technical and financial resources needed to install them. Our goal is to increase awareness of water pollution, how it happens, and how to clean it up, especially when it comes to sources of pollution that average person has some control over. Our approach is to educate residents on how to select an appropriate site for the garden, how to construct it, and what plants are suited for a rain garden. In the time that we have worked to increase the installation of rain gardens, we have learned that most people also need information on how to renovate, maintain, and care for a rain garden once it is has been established.
In the past few years, we have worked with the Kentucky Division of Water on a grant program designed to greatly increase the number of gardens throughout Central Kentucky. Our efforts have been very successful, with more than 50 rain gardens installed or renovated in the past two years. This particular project focused on homeowners in the six counties that border Fayette: Bourbon, Clark, Jessamine, Madison, Scott and Woodford, in addition to extending the program to Fayette County in the second year of the grant. In this program, we reached more than 350 people through 22 workshops, three rain garden tours, eight community festivals, and outreach to various schools and scout groups.
With spring finally here, it’s a great time to get started on installing your own rain garden. If you are interested, but aren’t sure where to start, we’ve got you covered. You can visit a dedicated page on our website. Once there, you can access a very popular Rain Garden Manual that we produced to help residents better understand the how’s and why’s of installing a garden. Additionally, if you’re looking for inspiration and want to see some cool examples of existing gardens, we have created an interactive map that provides a guide and brief profile of area rain gardens.
So get inspired, find the resources you need, and join us in creating sites that are beautiful and help reduce pollution!