Saturday, March 29, 2008

The EPA Gardens

Walking alongside the Mall while in DC last week I noticed these signs describing rain gardens. They were sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency, whose headquarters they decorate.


Apparently the gardening method the signs describe is demonstrated right before our eyes. Now I'll admit, I'm no fan of this administration's EPA and so I want to be hard on them. It is early spring after all, so the fact that there are little to no plants in the demonstration rain garden should not be made too much of. Hey, they're trying right?

How easy will it be to find plants that like both drought and flood as the sign describes? The image appears to represent a coneflower and maybe a baptisia or some kind of sage, perhaps. Hard to say exactly. A list of plants useful in this flood/drought environment would have been useful.

Could identification tags on the ground where these happy plants may be lying dormant have been useful? The patch of brown mulch I did see didn't exactly inspire me to plant a rain garden.

The average yearly rainfall in DC is about 39 inches. DC's downtown mall area is low lying, so collection of water from all those rooftops is a good idea. But downtown DC has a manicured landscape, heavy on the concrete, evergreen shrubbery, magnolia and cherry trees. Most of DC's runoff goes to the city sewer system, then into the Potomac River.

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