What's a Rain Garden?

Maybe you’ve heard of Master Gardeners, but did you know that you could also be a Master RAIN Gardener?

The Northeast Ohio Master Rain Gardener program (or MRG for short) came to Ohio a few years ago from Washtenaw County, Michigan. The program has grown during those years, and now people can choose from courses all over Northeast Ohio and online.

Nice, but what’s a rain garden?
Rain gardens are a shallow depression with a berm where water is directed allowing rainwater to collect in a specified place, slow down, and replenish the ground water. They’re also usually planted with some gorgeous flowering native plants that help feed our pollinators and butterflies. You could think of them as a garden with a job to do.

What are the benefits?
There are lots of reasons why someone would want to plant a rain garden on their property, but we hear from many of the participants that they attended a class because they had flooding or ponding issues they wanted to fix.

I’m a big fan of working with your land instead of against it, so if you have an area that’s always soggy, why not just plant things there that can thrive? You’ll have less lawn to mow, less getting the mower stuck, and some beautiful flowers to boot. The native plants we recommend for these gardens are well-suited to our environment and don’t need much attention once they’re established, so that’s less watering and fertilizing for you to do, too.

I’m hooked, how do I become a Master Rain Gardener?
Come take our course! The NEO MRG website has options for Cuyahoga County and beyond, both in-person and online. The course includes five classes over six weeks and will give you all the information you need to build a rain garden yourself or adopt a public rain garden. Instructors from across Northeast Ohio will answer your questions and provide feedback along the way. Once you build your garden, we’ll come out and give you a sign, t-shirt, and certification.

I’m not sure if a rain garden is right for me, what do I do?
Rain gardens are a fun project, but they aren’t the solution for everyone. Just give us a call and we can chat about if a rain garden makes sense for your property. Even if you decide not to install a whole rain garden, we can still suggest plenty of beautiful native plants suited to your conditions.

All photos are from the NEOMRG Program

Blog author: Kate Chapel, Euclid Creek Watershed Coordinator

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