Thursday, April 14, 2011

Critters--"under the hood" of your rain garden

Rain garden critters 2--How do they survive between rains?

If you were to examine a little wet soil from your rain garden, and put a drop on a microscope slide, you'd probably see a lot of rotifers.  Barely bigger than amoebas, they still consist of many cells.

Rotifers...  Males are "degenerate*"--how cool is that?
art by Elizabeth Buchsbaum

Rotifers try "abstinence only"--for 30 million years

Our aim is to bring you the latest news--to help you appreciate our lakes and streams.  And what's more engaging than a rotifer?  Rotifers live in temporary pools of water, like your bird bath or rain garden.

Terrace rain gardens you can do yourself

Terraces--the space between the sidewalk and the street--are the wild west of city infrastructure.  The wide-open spaces.  They are a resource right under our noses, ignored by most.

Owned by the city, but within the personal space of homeowners, they are a delicate issue.  The city treads softly here.  But tread it must, for the good of the community.

My neighbor Bob Kowal, 537 Gately Terrace, has developed a novel kind of rain garden on his terrace.  Bob is a retired professor at the UW Botany Department.

If you look at his terrace garden, you wouldn't notice anything unusual, except that it's extremely luxuriant.  And it fills the entire terrace, from driveway to driveway.

A rain garden street for our neighborhood?

A guest article by Elizabeth McBride
Gardener extrordinaire
I used to think of a rain garden as a trendy “green” gesture, something you could pat yourself on the back for having but not all that effective in the scheme of things. Today my thinking changed.