A rain garden can be a beautiful way to help mitigate the damage to our streams from stormwater. Stormwater causes erosion, scouring streams deep, and can raise the temperature of streams as well, killing fish. Pollutants can wash into the streams — which in our area means they will dump into the Chesapeake Bay. Help keep the stormwater that falls on your roof out of the storm drains.
Native Plant Gardens
A native plant garden can be just as lovely as one planted with exotic trees, shrubs and perennials and is much better for the environment. Our native dogwood tree, Cornus florida, turns red in the fall, just as the birds are flying overhead on their way south for the winter. The brilliant red color signals to the birds that the dogwood berries, full of nutritious lipids, are ripe just when the birds need to build up their strength for the long trip. The Japanese dogwood, Cornus kousa, turns color and ripens at a different time, missing most of the bird migration. In addition, the native dogwood supports more than 100 different species of insects (that birds eat on their spring migration and feed to their babies, who cannot eat seeds). The Japanese dogwood supports zero. Most people cannot tell the difference between the two trees, but it makes a world of difference to the birds.
Make your driveway or patio more attractive and help keep stormwater out of the drains. Water runs off traditional paving materials, adding to the stormwater problem. Permeable paving is specially designed to let water be absorbed through gaps in the pavers. New materials look just like traditional brick or stone, but they are much better for the planet.
Do you want to attract butterflies and other pollinators to your home? Do you want to help save the monarch butterfly? While adult butterflies can use almost any source of nectar for food, the butterfly larva (caterpillars) usually only have a few species of plants that will sustain them. The monarchs are the most famous — only laying their eggs on milkweed plants — but many other species are picky, too. And, even the adults need nectar sources available from earliest spring to latest fall. We can help you pick the plants that will provide pollinators what they need. And we can make it beautiful.
Your community may offer subsidies for rain gardens or conservation landscapes, such as the Stormwaterwise program in Arlington or the Rainscapes program in Montgomery County.