Three rain gardens will soon be a reality in city park

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Three rain gardens, included as part of Gaylord’s 2007 street project, will become reality this spring.

Gaylord’s City Council, last week, accepted a bid of $8,690.50 from South Cedar Greenhouses of Farmington to supply and deliver the plants. The rain gardens will be located in the city park.

Seven bids were received, ranging from $8,690.50 to $23,749.50.

The first garden, which is the largest, will be located east of the tennis court. A second garden will be across from the white park shelter. The third garden will be developed between Walsh Field and the Gaylord Pool.

A rain garden is a planted depression that is designed to absorb rainwater runoff from impervious urban areas, such as roofs, driveways, walkways, and compacted lawn areas. This reduces surface runoff by allowing stormwater to soak into the ground, as opposed to having it flow into storm drains and surface waters which cause erosion, water pollution, flooding, and diminished groundwater. Rain routed to gardens is filtered naturally through the plants, removing nutrients and pollutants. Benefits seen of the rain gardens are that they will attract birds and butterflies, help recharge the ground water, and add beauty to the park.

Native plants are recommended for rain gardens because they generally don’t require fertilizer and are more tolerant of one’s local climate, soil and water conditions. In rain gardens, water filters through soil layers before entering the groundwater system.

The concept of rain gardens began in the early 1990’s in the state of Maryland. They are now one of the fastest growing areas for home landscapes.

The rain gardens will include a lot of plants. The first rain garden will have 1,220 plants. The second will have 368, while the third will have 682.

Kevin McCann, city administrator, said that the rain gardens will be planted in late May and early June. Gaylord residents Paulette Nitz and Dianne Uecker will be in charge of managing the planting of the rain gardens.

Nitz explained that the gardens will be planted over two or three years. The first phase, which will be completed this year, is the base of each garden, which is the “wet zone,” she said. The inlet pipes will be blocked this year to allow the plants to get established.

When the project is completed, there will be 15,000 plants in the three rain gardens.

Nitz said that she was contacted by Gaylord’s Park Board to head up the planting. She asked Dianne Uecker to assist. Nitz, Uecker and Eileen Brandt submitted the plants that they liked to an environmental designer, to determine if they would work for the project and how many would be needed.

Dale Johnson, chairman of the Park Board, will be meeting with various civic groups, seeking adult volunteers for the planting. If anyone would like to volunteer, they should contact Johnson.

At this time, it is uncertain when the planting will begin, but Nitz expects it will be Memorial Day or later. The first garden that will be planted will be the one between the pool and Walsh Field. Nitz said that if the weather cooperates, it is hoped that one garden will be completed each week.

Plants that will be placed in the gardens include asters, different grasses, blue flag iris, sneezeweed, Joe-Rye weed, and swamp milkweed. The second and third phases of the project will include shrubs. The second garden, across from the park shelter, is being designed to attract butterflies and birds, Nitz said.

The first and second gardens will be fed by water inlets, Nitz explained, but the garden between the pool and Walsh Field will receive water that is drained above ground.

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