Thursday, July 9, 2009

Water Wise Gardens

On the Rain Garden team for the WSU Whatcom County Extension Beach Watchers, I was invited to join the local Master Gardener Foundation for an educational and fun tour of three water wise home gardens in the Lake Whatcom watershed. The first garden, located on Lake Whatcom in Agate Bay, had undergone a major shoreline restoration project a number of years ago when an old bulkhead started to deteriorate. Now one more beach on Lake Whatcom, the source of drinking water for the residents of Bellingham, is water friendly.The next home garden, a demonstration rain garden located in a residential area of the Silver Beach neighborhood was a combined project constructed by the WSU Master Gardeners, Beach Watchers and Master Composters classes last year. Rainwater from the roof of the house and excess stormwater from the street that were traditionally directed to a neighborhood storm drain were redirected to feed the rain garden. Plants tolerant in both rainy and dry seasons were selected for specific areas of the rain garden based upon the moisture level that those different areas of the garden were expected to maintain.
The last home garden on our tour, also located in the Silver Beach neighborhood, was on top of a hill and utilized a number of water-friendly features with walking trails throughout its obviously healthy natural habitat.
More photos from our water wise garden tour.

MORE UPCOMING GARDEN TOURS! Want to go on a garden tour yourself? If so, you might consider the upcoming tour of community gardens located in Whatcom County sponsored by the WSU Whatcom County Extension Community First Gardens Project on July 18th and again on July 25th from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. This is a self-guided tour and master gardeners will be at each site to help provide information. The following community gardens will be open to the public for the tour:
  • Fairhaven Community Garden, 10th Avenue and Wilson, Bellingham
  • Happy Valley Community Garden, 32nd Street between Taylor and Donovan, Bellingham
  • Lakeway Community Garden, Lakeway Avenue and Woburn Street, Bellingham
  • Shuravloff Garden, 1815 Texas Street, Bellingham
  • Miller Garden, 1005 East Illinois, Bellingham
  • West Garden, 2527 Pacific Street, Bellingham (open the 18th ONLY)
  • Outback Garden, On WWU campus off of South College Drive and Fairhaven College, 25th Street north of Bill MacDonald Parkway, Bellingham
  • Broadway Youth Center Garden, Broadway and Dupont, Bellingham
  • Spring Creek Apartments Garden, 196 East Kellogg Road, Bellingham
  • Cordata Community Garden, at northern dead end of Cordata Parkway, Bellingham
  • First Christian Church Garden, 495 East Bakerview Road, Bellingham
  • Ferndale Friendship Garden, Ferndale Road, Ferndale
  • North City Community Garden, 8844 Bender Road, Lynden
  • United Methodist Garden, 14th and Main Street, Lynden
  • 5 Loaves Farm, 514 Liberty Street, Lynden
  • Sumas Community Garden, 399 Frost Rodeo Drive, in the H. Bowen Memorial Park, Sumas
  • Everson Community Garden, Kirsch Road across from library, Everson
  • Maple Falls Community Garden, Mount Baker Highway next to the Harvest Moon Bakery

A map of Whatcom County showing the location of each of these participating gardens is available on the Community First Gardens website at - Whatcom County Community Garden Tour. I have a small raised-bed garden at the Cordata Community Gardens and a 10-foot by 40-foot garden spot at the Happy Valley Community Gardens. I will be available at my Happy Valley garden during the tour on the 25th. Maybe I'll see you there!

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