Friday, October 7, 2011

Rain gardens in New Zealand

New Zealand is an island country with keen environmental awareness.  Perhaps that's because they experienced some environmental disasters after colonization by Europeans.

Sheep and deer overran and denuded the country.  Erosion followed.  Species disappeared at an alarming rate.

So it's not surprising that their capital city--Aukland--has some interesting rain gardens.  Recently, I found the following photos on the internet.

The photos are mostly rain gardens for streets and sidewalks. If we're going to improve the lakes, we have to start dealing with street runoff in a big way! (Click on photos to enlarge.)

"This rain garden on sloping ground adjacent to a public road has deep baffles to ensure water ponds evenly and to prevent erosion and a wide concrete apron next to the road. People are separated from the relatively large vertical drop by a fence."

"Rain gardens treating road runoff in Hamilton and North Shore. The rain gardens are planted with native flaxes, rushes and sedges. The rain garden on the left has a fine gravel mulch; the rain garden on the right has organic mulches in planted areas and large stones around the overflow and around the inlet to protect them from erosion."

The Waitakere Civic Centre."Rain gardens usually have a dense perennial ground cover."

See the frequently asked questions from the New Zealand site here.  They cover some interesting points I haven't seen mentioned in Wisconsin.  For example, good rain garden plants are those that typically grow at the borders of temporary wetlands.

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