SWCD reminder: plant sale, rain gardens

By Anna Smith - Preble SWCD Outreach Coordinator

EATON — Time is running short to get your orders in for Preble Soil and Water Conservation District’s annual plant sale. Do you want to beautify your yard, help wildlife or pollinators, control erosion, grow your own food, provide shade for your yard, or create a living privacy fence? We have options for all of these, and they’re available at great prices.

Now through March 23, we are accepting orders for flowering perennials, deciduous trees, shrubs, evergreens, asparagus, black raspberries, and pollinator seed mixes. Order forms and details are available at http://www.prebleswcd.org/plant-sale.html.

Did you know that you can even benefit local water quality using plants in your yard? Water quality has been a big issue making the headlines often in recent years. The discussion frequently focuses on runoff that leaves agricultural land and what farmers can do to relieve the problem, but you can also make changes in your own backyard to help. Rain gardens are a great way to minimize stormwater runoff from properties in residential areas. What is stormwater? It is rainwater that falls on hard surfaces such as roofs and driveways, and does not soak into the ground, but instead travels across the landscape as runoff. In the process, stormwater picks up trash, chemicals, sediment, and other pollutants, and carries them down drains and directly to nearby streams and rivers.

You can slow the flow of water leaving your property and entering storm drains by installing a rain garden in your yard. A rain garden is a shallow depression where water can collect from hard surfaces or downspouts. It is planted with native plants that help soak up the water and nutrients, while water is also filtering downward through the soil. Soil removes contaminants naturally, benefitting water quality, while the plants in your rain garden help beautify your property and provide benefits to both wildlife and pollinators.

This year’s Preble SWCD plant sale offers several perennial species that are perfect for rain gardens! They include purple coneflower, blazing star, Joe pye weed, lance leaf coreopsis, and little blue stem native grass. Would you like more details on rain gardens and how to install one in your yard? Visit www.prebleswcd.org/backyard-conservation.html for rain garden resources, or click on the home page for details on the plant sale. The deadline for plant orders is March 23. Contact the SWCD office with questions by calling 456-5159.

By Anna Smith

Preble SWCD Outreach Coordinator