Thursday, August 05, 2010

Damp drought

Although we have been suffering through a string of blastingly sunny hot summer days, one corner of the garden is absolutely flourishing.

The raingarden is over-flowing with black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia fulgida "Goldsturm"), Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium maculatum "Gateway"), and Northern sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium).

And that's because even during this drought, we have plenty of water running through this area. Our two-year old French drain is very effectively catching water as it flows down the back hillside. By the end of each steaming hot day, the standing water in the raingarden has evaporated, leaving just a margin of damp silt.

But by the next morning, water has pooled again.

Despite the French drain, the grass downhill is damp and squishy. And water is rising to the ground surface just uphill. What to do?

I am thinking that this hillside stream might have to helped along: removing the sod, inserting a series of flat stones to ladder and guide the flow, and edging the course with some marsh ferns (Thelypteris palustris), a low growing goldenrod (Solidago canadensis "Baby Gold"), and a dwarf sweet flag grass (Acorus gramineus "Golden Ogon").

This re-visioning was totally inspired by (soggy feet every morning and) a recent ramble through a profusion of Joe Pye Weed, goldenrod, cattails and loosestrife in the wetter parts of our local conservation land at Rock Meadow.

Yellow, purple, green, and pink. I'm in.

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