Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Drainage Makes all the Difference

Having just build a new home a couple years ago, I had to give new thought to where I planted my perennials. Seems the cities in Minnesota all have rules on how to grade the yard of new construction, so that water drains away from the house.

Unfortunately, this causes a dilemma for a gardener. The sides of our yard for instance, have such a steep grade that water runs right over it, and doesn't have a chance to soak in. The grass there is struggling, and anything that I plant on the side of the house has to either be drought tolerant, or heavily mulched to retain moisture.

At the back of our lot, the grade levels out, but unfortunately, retains all the water that drains down the lot and leaves the water with nowhere to go. The soil there is relatively moist, and in a few places, stays quite wet. In these places I have had to plant moisture loving perennials, some that don't mind getting their feet wet.

With all the rain we have had, the moist areas are soaking, and I have had to move a few plants out of that area as they were starting to rot. My "Coral Reef" Monarda and "Orange Perfection" Phlox were dropping all their leaves, so I moved them up the hill and they seem to be doing better. For two years, a Butterfly Weed had been doing well in the area, but all the rain rotted it out with-in a week and even though I moved it, it looks like it is not going to make it.

Getting to know the different areas of your garden and yard can take multiple seasons. You have to research what works in the sun or shade, and what takes drought or moist conditions in these lighting scenarios. You will lose some plants, as I can attest, so be prepared and keep a garden book for notes on what does and doesn't work.

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