Rain Garden Installation June 10

By Susan Thompson

A rain garden is a perennial flower garden strategically located to capture runoff from rain that falls on parking lots, roofs, driveways and yards. On Saturday, June 10, beginning at 9 a.m., a rain garden will be installed along the east side of the Panorama West clubhouse parking lot.

This project is sponsored by Friends of Lake Panorama, a nonprofit charity that is separate from the Lake Panorama Association. Funds raised by the charity are used for improvements at Lake Panorama’s two golf courses and three beaches.

The idea of installing a demonstration rain garden was discussed at a Friends of Lake Panorama board of directors meeting a year ago. Derek Namanny, an urban conservationist with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, began working with the group last fall. He visited Lake Panorama to look for possible rain garden locations, and found a good spot at Panorama West.

“A rain garden is a shallow bowl made in the landscape that is level from side to side and end to end,” Namanny says. “Rain gardens help reduce surface runoff and protect water quality. Runoff that travels to a rain garden is temporarily ponded, but it doesn’t stay ponded for long. Plants in the garden use the water, pollutants are filtered out, and the water percolates down through the soil, rather than running into streets and storm drains.”

There is an existing water drain on the east side of the Panorama West parking lot that receives rainfall runoff. Namanny designed a garden that will cover 500 square feet surrounding this drain. Some excavation will be done before layers of rock, sand and soil are covered with a hardwood mulch and erosion blanket. About 170 native plants, featuring a dozen different varieties of flowering plants and grasses, will be planted.      

Members of the Panora Garden Club are helping plant, and other volunteers also are welcome. Garden club members will hold a plant sale, plus a white elephant sale of garden and outdoor items, in the Panorama West community room from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Coffee and cinnamon rolls, plus hot dogs and hot fudge sundaes, will be available for freewill donations.

Lake Panorama and other area residents are invited to the planting and demonstration event to learn more about rain gardens, and how these could be installed in other locations to help protect the lake and nearby streams and rivers. Namanny will be on hand to assist with the planting, and answer questions.

The cost of this rain garden project is estimated at $2,500. Last December, the Guthrie County Soil and Water Conservation District Commissioners approved an application from Friends for cost-share funding for the rain garden. The Lake Panorama Association will provide excavation and other site preparation assistance.

Friends of Lake Panorama has collected some funds for this project, but additional donations are welcome. Donations, with a note the funds are to be used for the rain garden, can be mailed to Friends at Box 488, Panora, Iowa, 50216.

To volunteer to help with the rain garden planting, or for more information, send an email to staff@friendsoflakepanorama.org. Or call Susan Thompson at 515-240-6536.