Earlier this month a rain garden was installed on the grounds of the Rye Art Center at 51 Milton Road. Twenty volunteers joined the collaboration between Tracy Stora, chair of Rye’s Conservation Commission Advisory Council; James Ward, chair of Rye Sustainability Committee; Adam Levi, executive director of Rye Arts Center and Katie Friedman, ecological restoration program manager at Save the Sound.
“We are thrilled with our beautiful new rain garden, and hope people come to Rye Arts Center to see and learn about rain gardens and be inspired to install one at home,” said Sue Drouin, one of the organizers.
The site was tested for good water infiltration a few months ago, then the amount of rain water coming off the roof into the downspouts was calculated, and that determined the size of the garden. Volunteers removed the soil in an irregular bathtub shape that is raised on the downhill side and deeper in the middle so that water stays in the garden and percolates down into the ground rather running into the parking lot and then our waterways.
Native, pollinator-friendly perennials donated from friends and The Hickories farm (grown from the CTNOFA native seed bank’s Ecotype project) were planted by the volunteers. Then, two downspouts from the roof of Rye Arts Center were directed to channel all of the rain water into the garden with PVC pipes.
If you want to research installing your own rain garden, here are some local resources, starting with a local rain garden workshop that explains the process of designing and installing a rain garden.