Rain Gardens in Portland Oregon Are Now Part of Local Culture.
This blog is from 2008. Goodness we have had so much fun with rain gardens since then. Portlanders have fully embraced the concept of directing winter water into areas where the water can return to the earth instead of the local water treatment plant.
My clients had disconnected their down spout and sort of had a rain garden but rain water flowed across the front walk making it slippery, mossy and messy.
After I created a basic design for the rain garden, I brought in Donna Burdick of
D & J Landscape Contractors. We worked together to finalize the design and then placed the rock to create the stream effect. Plantings were the finishing touch.
Year Round Interest Plants Used
- Beesia deltophylla (An unusual glossy evergreen ground cover from Monrovia’s Dan Hinkley Collection)
- Golden dwarf sweet flag (Acorus gramineus ‘Minimus Aureus’)
- Golden variegated sweet flag (Acorus gramineus ‘Ogon’)
- Hellebores and ferns went outside the rain garden, in the dryer soil areas.
Christmas Plantings Look Great
The plantings look good even at Christmas with glossy gold grass and dark green leafed plantings.
Now when the Smith’s get out their flamingos for holiday decoration, their entry looks lush and welcoming.
Rain Garden Solves Entry Pond Problem
Small courtyard entries are the norm in Charbonneau, a planned community in Wilsonville, Oregon. My clients had a yearly winter pond in their courtyard entry.
Heavy Clay Soils Present Design Challenges
The soil has heavy clay and does not drain well. My clients in this area do a lot of soil prep. They have to install drains or take drastic measures to deal with winter rain water.
One half of the courtyard was buried in several inches of water every time it rained. It would take days or even weeks to drain away. We decided a rain garden with pizzazz might solve their water problems and fit in with their garden style.
Landscape Design in a Day Comes to the Rescue
The client and Carol Lindsay of Landscape Design in a Day placed rocks and plantings. We used the large-sized Gold Acorus grass (Acorus gramineus ‘Ogon’) with Kelsey’s Dwarf Red-Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea ‘Kelseyi’) along the back wall. We may look at using a dwarf Compact Inkberry Holly (Ilex glabra ‘Compacta’) instead as the garden continues to develop. The client installed their own perforated pipe under the rain garden – resulting in no more standing water going for over five years now.
Updated-Here are rain gardens designed in the last few years, mostly in N and NE Portland.