What better time to check out how Rain Gardens work than after all this rain we’ve been having? Lexington’s 4th Annual Rain Garden Tour will happen May 22nd, 1-4 p.m. For the whole story and contact details, CLICK HERE. The tour is sponsored by Bluegrass Pride and the Bluegrass Rain Garden Alliance.
Posts Tagged 'water quality'
Tags: Garden Tours, rain, rain gardens, water quality
Tags: Audubon, Audubon Society of Kentucky, College of Agriculture, Environmental and Natural Resources Initiative, UK, water quality
If you read my Winter Is for the Birds and Watchers (CLICK) feature in the January 8th Life & Home section, you probably noticed this gorgeous photo of a Short-eared owl that was taken by local Aububon Society of Kentucky (CLICK) secretary David Lang. He says that this photo, as well as many others, was shot at U.K.’s Maine Chance Farm, which is located along Newtown Pike in northern Fayette County. Streambank restoration and water quality projects have created a more wildlife-friendly environment there. Those projects, as well as other collabortive programs, with links to eco-friendly information and details about college majors available to study this area are available on-line on a Web-site for a new center at U.K.’s College of Agriculture, called the Environmental and Natural Resource Initiative (CLICK) If you’ve walked or biked along Lexington’s new Legacy Trail’s north end, across Spindletop, Maine Chance and Coldstream farms, you have probably seen and heard many birds around you. Next time, be sure to bring a pair of binoculars and a camera to get a closer look.
To see more Inside/Out & About , just CLICK HERE.
Tags: Kentucky Horse Park, native plants, native trees, vegetable, water quality, watershed, WEG
Just after passing through the park’s main gatehouse, you’ll arrive at a dry-laid stone wall and gate, which have been built to welcome visitors in classic Kentucky style as they approach the Visitor Center and playing fields. Located in the middle of a roundabout, the structure was created by a team certified masons from the Dry Stone Conservancy, a non-profit organization dedicated to conserving and building dry-laid stone structures, while at the same time training people in the craft. These skilled artisans prepared, dressed and laid stone sourced from the park itself. Completed in August, it is surrounded by beds which park landscape manager Mac Jeffs and his crew have filled with native grasses and wildflowers, including our state flower, the goldenrod. These new limestone walls echo the many miles of rock fences lining pikes and lanes which were built along Central Kentucky’s farmlands over a century ago. Chris Harp, executive director of the Dry Stone Conservancy, explains “The feature is a traditional Kentucky stone entrance that you would have encountered in the early to mid-19th century.” A small pond serves as a backdrop, while the entrance loop is overlooked by a sculpture of the legendary Man o’ War, with nearby remembrances for Kentucky-bred Thoroughbred and 1937 Triple Crown winner War Admiral and jockey Isaac Murphy, all surrounded by a winner’s circle of roses and fountains.
If you follow along the stream bank of Cane Run Creek further into the park, you’ll see that another uniquely Kentucky project, this time aimed at improving water quality by establishing a riparian buffer zone with native wildflowers, grasses and trees, has taken root. Brochures which list suggested specimens for planting, and discuss best practices for managing water quality around equine pastures, are available at the site. Kentucky Cooperative Extension Water Quality Liaison Amanda Abnee Gumbert, whose mission includes improving riparian buffer zones within the entire Cane Run watershed, says “We hope visitors to the park will see this as a demonstration of what they can do on their own property to protect streams and improve water quality.”
It’s an educational message of world-wide importance. Of special interest to horse owners with land along waterways, this planting demonstrates practical, sustainable and ecologically sound solutions to better shelter wildlife, prevent erosion, and retain storm water where it’s needed while filtering out pollutants. But this presentation is more than simply functional: it’s also a work of ecological art. Instead of an open pasture cut straight to the waterway, a “no mow” zone now holds a charming array of brightly colored native wildflower blossoms: deep pink Echinacea, golden orange coneflower, spikes of great blue lobelia and white Joe Pye weed, all magnets for thousands of butterflies, moths and other insects; shade from trees like white swamp oak and bald cypress will have a cooling effect. The greenery, planted in May of this year, survived a long hot, dry spell and is thriving beautifully. Gumbert says that the project is a partnership supported by the park, the U.K. College of Agriculture’s Cane Run Watershed Project, M2D Designers, and the Bluegrass Partnership for a Green Community.
An entirely different sort of plot tucked in behind plank fencing is the Governor’s Garden, which can be found in the yard just next to the park’s historic Farmhouse. One of seven vegetable gardens around the state begun in an initiative by Kentucky’s First Lady Jane Beshear to promote home and community gardens, it calls attention to the benefits of growing and consuming healthy food close to home. Other Governor’s Gardens can be found in Frankfort, Hazard, Florence, Paducah, Bowling Green, and the state fair grounds at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville. Student volunteers from the Scott County High School FFA chapter are maintaining the Kentucky Horse Park garden; during the equestrian events, chefs participating in celebrity chef dinners will have access to the produce grown there. “To have the opportunity to promote gardening on a world stage like the World Equestrian Games is an ideal way to show that Kentucky is committed to good health and reducing our carbon footprint,” Mrs. Beshear said. “Premiere chefs from all over the United States will be impressed while cooking with vegetables grown right here in the Bluegrass; a secret our local chefs already know.”
These gardens showcase the natural elegance and synchronicity of what we Kentuckians experience every day: a graceful and enriching marriage of the horse and the land that we love.
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Tags: Lexington, Love Green Lexington, rain garden, storm sewers, water, water barrel, water quality, watershed
Stormwater runoff. So, what’s in your water?
No, I’m not talking about the sanitary sewer system with handles water that’s piped in and out of our homes. Instead, this is about where rainwater goes after it falls in your yard. As long as flooding isn’t a problem, it just seems to disappear. Yet, stormwater runoff is the largest contributor to water quality problems in the U.S., carrying chemicals, litter, and waste along with it. Unable to seep into the earth because the ground is paved over and impermeable. stormwater flows into creeks, or along storm sewer channels until it reaches a place where it can flush out away from developed areas. With increased awareness, many homeowners have installed rainbarrels and rain gardens in the last few years, in an attmpt to use water more wisely. The city is currently repairng and updating our stormwater sewer system after being sued by the EPA for violating Clean Water Act regulations; we’re paying the cost.
Still, with all the urban development, it’s almost impossible to notice the waterways which cross through, and some even under, Fayette County. Are you aware of which watershed area you live in? Or even that there are watersheds at all? Click here to take a look at the “Find Your Watershed” map at LivingGreenLexington.com. There is also some good news on the site: neighborhoods, churches, apaprtment complexes and other organizations may be able to apply for incentive grants for water quality improvement projects, so while you’re finding your watershed, also check out that announcement. And join in to keep our environment a clean and safe place to live.