The rainy season is the most exciting season for working on our rain gardens and bioswales. We spend long hours preparing our sites, engineering, weeding, and sheet mulching, waiting for the winter rains to begin so that we can plant our gardens and give them a good start. Our native plants are adapted to going dormant during our long dry season and then pushing plant and root growth when the rains come and the ground softens. This makes for exciting community work days as we seize a pause in the rain during our winter weather to get out and plant our new rain gardens. This last Saturday, we had several high school students helping us to plant when a cloudburst sent us scurrying to our cars, wet and muddy, as we reluctantly beat a retreat.
Rain gardens and bioswales are magical solutions to urban problems, that attempt to work with nature rather than framing natural forces as the enemy. Traditional urban design rapidly drains rain water off hard surfaces, such as sidewalks and streets, into our creeks and storm drainage systems, leading to urban flooding and damage to our waterways. Our designs redirect stormwater runoff to remain in our rain gardens to support a vibrant native habitat garden while protecting our creeks from storm water damage and our Bay from runoff pollution. We have created a series of bioswales and rain gardens along the Richmond Greenway brimming with our local native plants to make beautiful green spaces.
Walking up in Tilden and other East Bay Regional Parks brings a thrill of recognition as we see native plants and trees that we have recreated in our Richmond Greenway parks. Our designs both provide healthy beautiful parks for our local families to enjoy and wild spaces to support our native butterflies, bees, birds, and other wildlife. The rain gardens restore natural seasons of bloom, food and shelter to our urban spaces.
Please join us as we plant our newest bioswales on the Richmond Greenway near Unity Park at 17th-19th Streets on the Greenway. Come learn more about our rain gardens and native plants. Students are welcome to do community service. We’ll be hosting three community events: Saturday, March 9th, Saturday, March 23rd, and Saturday, April 13th for Earth Day. For more information and waivers, please see our event page.