Sustainable Arlington

An Envision Arlington committee & a Mass. Climate Action Network (MCAN) chapter

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Let it Rain Gardens

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Rain Gardens work for communities and ecosystems

The whole community is invited to help plant Arlington's first community rain garden

CHANGED to Sunday, Oct. 2 due to wet conditions

10am-1pm at Spy Pond Park

Why are we planting a rain garden?

As rain water from storms flows over roads and manicured lawns, chemicals are picked up along the way and flow into our streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes. Rain gardens are designed to be hard-working yet beautiful holders of some of that storm water. When polluted water is held by a rain garden, the plants take up some of  that water and the soil filters the rest. With pollutants removed, the filtered water naturally recharges back into the groundwater system that feeds streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes. rain_garden_layout_4

In this mock-up, you may notice the crossing paths running through the garden outline. These walkways will allow visitors to enjoy the plants up close and will make garden maintainance easier.

Rain gardens are especially useful in communities like Arlington. According to the Rachel Carlson National Wildlife Refuge in Wells, Maine, "Impervious surfaces [such as roofs, driveways, and walkways] act as a barrier to groundwater recharge by preventing surface waters from soaking into the ground. As the number of impervious surfaces increases worldwide, the incidence of surface water pollution and flooding events increase as well. Rain gardens, although small, are a great way to combat the problems associated with runoff from impervious surfaces."

In Arlington, residents who experience occasional flooding or water accumulation on their properties may find the idea of a rain garden a far more attractive alternative to muddy or wet areas and failed attempts at lawns.

You don't have to be an experienced gardener to plant a rain garden. Many existing lists of plants that grow well in such conditions are readily available on the web and elsewhere. However, there's no better way to learn how to install a rain garden than to come to Spy Pond Park on October 1 and watch or help out with an actual installation. Just a half-hour of your time will familiarize you with what's involved. Refreshments will be served and experienced gardeners will answer your questions. We'll meeet at the playground.

Plants chosen for the Spy Pond Park location are native plants, or similar varieties, that are adapted to the local growing conditions. These plants are easy to grow, easy to find for sale, and  benefit the local eco-system. We hope to see rain gardens springing up all over town.

Learn more about the advantages of native plants at the New England Wildflower Society website.

Garden design led by Sally Naish of Light and Shade Garden Design, Inc.

See the garden design diagram here.

Join us for a community build day

Saturday, Oct.1, 2011

10am-2pm, come anytime, please sign up with Joey Glushko at 781-316-3093, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(refreshments served, questions answered)


Members of the planning group (L to R): Joey, Emily, Corinna, Sally (Garden Designer, center), Gail, and Karen.

Made possible thanks to a grant from New England Grassroots Environmental Fund

Coodinated by the Arligton EcoFest Committee in partnership with the Friends of Spy Pond Park

For the complete text from the Rachel Carlson National Wildlife Preserve signage click here.

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Sustainable Arlington uses a Google Group to conduct its discussions and facilitate communications within the SA community.  To join our Google Group please click here!

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