Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

This week, to celebrate springtime and to soak up some garden inspiration, Heath, the maternal unit and I headed to South Austin for a pilgrimage to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Mission accomplished. We got some great ideas for doing some native gardening. Check it out!

I love how even with no breeze, these look like they're blowing in the wind.

Crushing on rain gardens

Remember when I posted here about the reappearing swimming pool that obnoxiously pops up in our backyard after a heavy downpour?  I haven’t been able to stop obsessing over it. Love the rain, love the house, HATE the watery mess.

The backyard becomes completely unusable…even for the dogs, and there isn’t much the dogs shy away from (Stella will jump through a solid glass window but won’t get involved with a stagnant muddy puddle…true story). It’s soggy and slushy and it takes more than a day or so for all that water to evaporate or run off the property and get out of our hair. It’s not a great situation for entertaining, for gardening or even living. Even with the new gutters and recently installed rain water barrels (EXCITING), the yard still manages to fall victim to water runoff due to a sloping property and funky drainage. Me thinks the solution lies in rain gardens.

I like rain gardens because they provide a designated space for water runoff that can double as a beautiful plant and wildlife habitat. By absorbing the water rather than allowing it to run off the property, they help prevent erosion and flooding and and can improve the overall quality of water in nearby streams, ponds or lakes. Once again, another solution for the doodle house that serves two purposes: helping the planet and directly helping me. I love it when that happens.

The other neat part: Rain gardens can be pretty cool looking. Check out some of what I found online.

Rain Garden from Chris Francis Landscapes

Rain garden project at Randolph College

Example of a rain garden from Virginia Department of ForestryRain garden courtesy of

Rain garden idea from Stewardship Partners

The Red Clay Valley Association encourages its residences to make rain gardens in small backyard depressions like this one.

Minnesota Public Radio did a neat feature on how to install backyard rain gardens, like this one, for its listeners.

Rain garden from Dayton Bioretention

My fingers are crossed that rain gardens will be the solution for us. Besides helping out with the mud situation,  they allow for a fair amount of flexibility in what you plant so long as you go native, and they require minimal maintenance…two things I’m all for. We’ve also got the right set up according to the experts.

  • Located in a depression…check!
  • Selected location is at least 10 feet from the house…check!
  • In an area with ample sun…check!
  • Not in an area where water already puddles…D’oh! I’m a little confused by this suggestion. If you’re suppose to install the garden in a flat or depressed area, wouldn’t that (according to the laws of gravity) be an area that regularly puddles? Help me out on this one.

There’s clearly more research to be done on the subject before we start moving earth, but thus far rain gardens appear to be a very attractive option for deflecting Lake Robinson.