Rain garden workshop coming to Georgetown Co.

Georgetown, SC - From Clemson University

GEORGETOWN, SC - Learn how to build a rain garden and let nature play a role shaping your home landscape at a seminar and installation workshop coming May 14 to Georgetown County.

Experts from Clemson's Carolina Clear stormwater education program, Coastal Carolina University and the Georgetown County Stormwater Division will deliver presentations and coordinate a hands-on installation.

The class will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Waccamaw Higher Learning Center, 160 Willbrook Boulevard in Litchfield. The class costs $20 per person and includes lunch, refreshments, construction materials and plants for the garden.

The fee also includes a copy of the Carolina Clear rain garden manual. Additional copies may be purchased for $4 each.

Please note that class size is limited. Registration is required by May 11 at the Georgetown County Extension Office, 731 Prince St. in Georgetown. Payment is accepted in cash or by check made payable to Clemson University.

For more information, call 843-546-4481 or e-mail shastin@clemson.edu.

The workshop is sponsored by the Coastal Waccamaw Stormwater Education Consortium and is hosted by the Waccamaw Higher Education Center.

The seminar portion includes instruction on local water quality and stormwater management, the principles of rain garden design and correct plants to use.

During the installation portion, be prepared to get dirty. Walk the site with Georgetown County stormwater engineer Tracy Jones and take part in building a demonstration site that will be used as an educational tool about rain gardens.

The popularity of rain gardens has grown as more people become aware of the effects of their homes and yards on nearby water bodies.

Water that runs over impervious surfaces, such as roads, roofs and parking lots, picks up pollutants along the way, which are carried to lakes, rivers and estuaries. These pollutants include bacteria, nutrients, litter, sediments, oils and metals.

Correctly constructed rain gardens allow stormwater runoff to slowly infiltrate the groundwater table. Rain gardens absorb excess nitrogen and phosphorous in stormwater and trap sediment while biological processes filter out other pollutants.

To help understand how rain gardens work, Carolina Clear has produced a 16-page rain garden manual, a copy of which is included in the registration fee. Additional copies are available for download free of charge from the Carolina Clear Web site.

The manual details how to build a successful rain garden and leads the reader through site selection, design, planting and maintenance. The manual describes dozens of shrubs, trees, perennials and grass that can be planted in gardens across the state's diverse regions. It includes tables to calculate how much mulch to use and examples of rain garden designs.