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Rain, Rain, Come My Way

April showers bring May flowers. The old saying is true. April is full of rain, but there’s no reason you can’t have flowers before May.

During rainstorms, water gushes out of downspouts, across lawns and gardens. It has a tendency to accumulate in one place and can overwater or even flood a garden. Excessive rain saturates soil, suffocates roots, breaks plants and attracts pests.

However, when you’ve strategically planted for rain, gushing downspouts are no longer a problem. A rain garden is a garden that uses water-loving plants, with strong roots. It helps use rain where it lands instead of letting it run-off into streams, lakes and rivers.

How to Build a Rain Garden:

1. Choose your location

Measure out at least 10 feet from your home. Keep your new garden away from septic systems. Find somewhere with a natural downgrade, away from the house, if possible. If your garden is level, then find a place where soil is already absorbing water easily. Stay away from soil that holds moisture for an extended period of time.

2. Create a design

Measure the size and shape of the area. Once you determine what you are working with, you can begin planning what to plant. Plan out what looks best to the eye first, while keeping in mind the plants that do best with wet feet should be in the middle.

3. Choose your plants

Since each region gets a different amount of rainfall, native plants tend to do best. You will want plants that do well in wet and dry conditions. Rainfall will add up occasionally over the year, but the soil can dry out in the warmer months. Choose plants that don’t mind having wet roots for extended periods of time such as blue fescue grass, daylilies, elderberry and tupelo trees. Look for water-resistant natives such as black chokeberry, meadowsweet shrubs, Joe-Pye weed, Colorado blue spruce, bayberry, ferns and winterberry. Check out your local garden center for tips on the best plants for your region.

4. Prepare the soil

As all gardeners know, it starts with the soil. Good drainage is key to prevent water from sitting. If your soil needs a fresh start, or to be amended, add Espoma’s Garden Soil to help set your rain garden up for success. Further improve drainage by using pervious surfaces, edging puddles and creating paths through low-lying areas with sand or stones.

5. Get ready for rain

It’s time to plant! Get your plants in the ground and watered in to stabilize them. Water every other day for two weeks to get it ready for a heavy rainfall and watch your garden grow!

Planning your garden will keep your garden running smoothly.

Prefer a vegetable garden? Here’s how to plan.

 

Pollinators: Nothing to Sneeze At

Did you know that honeybees are directly responsible for pollinating one third of the food we eat?

Pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, play a big part in getting our gardens to grow. They help fertilize flowers, carrying pollen from one plant to another. In return, pollinators only ask for food — the nectar and pollen from flowers they visit.

Lately, pollinator populations are declining. Thankfully, you can still “bee” an ally for pollinators by creating habitats for them in your own garden.

A garden frequented by pollinators is both healthy and beautiful. Give pollinators what they need and you’ll watch your whole garden bloom livelier than ever.

How to Keep Your Garden Beautiful and Attract Pollinators:

Pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, play a big part in getting our gardens to grow. They help fertilize flowers, carrying pollen from one plant to another.

Location. The best way to attract pollinators is to plant flowers that appeal to them. Either add to an existing garden or designate one specifically for pollinators. Choose a sunny location and remove weeds from the plant beds.

Pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, play a big part in getting our gardens to grow. They help fertilize flowers, carrying pollen from one plant to another.

Layer. Entice pollinators with native flowering plants that bloom at different times throughout the year, provide food and habitat. Include several types of flowers that produce nectar and sticky pollen.

At the back of your garden, plant tall flowers such as coneflowers, sunflowers, black-eyed Susans and asters. Their petals provide landing platforms for pollinators. In front of the tall flowers, plant medium flowers, like catmint and yarrow. In front of those, plant shorter flowers such as verbena, or herbs that flower, like oregano.

Pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, play a big part in getting our gardens to grow. They help fertilize flowers, carrying pollen from one plant to another.

Planting. Plant tall flowers 18-20” apart, medium flowers 12” apart and short flowers 8-10” apart.

Sprinkle flowers with Plant-tone, an organic plant food that won’t harm any visitors to your garden. Or, try our new Grow! organic liquid plant food to quick-start your plants’ growth.

Now that your garden is set up to welcome pollinators, wait for the flowers to bloom!

Share pictures of your pollinator habitat with us on our Facebook page!