Sunday, May 29, 2016

Rain Garden

I read a comment on Twitter recently about how having a good hobby can help people manage mental illness.  This blog is that for me, and we are also starting to homeschool (not that educating my child is a hobby, but you know what I mean).  As part of homeschooling, I want to incorporate a new hobby - a rain garden.  Now, I'm not much of a gardener (read: my neighbors wish I did something with our landscaping).  But when I saw the rain garden program sponsored by the city, I got interested.

What's a Rain Garden?
A rain garden uses native plants with deep root systems to soak up storm water runoff as an alternative to water filling up local sewer systems.  The garden has sloped edges to encourage rainwater to stay in the garden and soak in to the ground instead of flowing to other areas.  They are popular all over the world (Australia, the United Kingdom, the USA).

Why a Rain Garden?
My oldest will be in kindergarten starting this fall, and I am currently working through planning content for his school year.  I recently read The Importance of Being Little by Erika Christakis.  The book's bottom line was that kids in preschool and early elementary are most academically successful through experiencing life with a loving and interactive adult.  Their environment (whatever that environment is) is their curriculum.  My goal with this rain garden is to create an environment in which my kids can interact with God's creation (wildflowers! birds! butterflies!) in a way that breeds curiosity and sparks learning.  This happened yesterday as we started to dig the garden and my son discovered a new found love for worm collecting.  The kid who refused to touch a worm earlier this season was excitedly digging them out of the ground with his bare hands and transferring them to their new home in his collection jar (with holes for air).

How much have you gotten done on the Rain Garden so far?
Good question!  I excavated all of the 60 square feet of the garden last night and this afternoon.  The clay soil is MUCH heavier and muddier than I anticipated, which is making sloping the edges a bit of a challenge.  I'm hoping that in the morning (maybe I can stay up after the baby's early morning feeding?!) much of the soil will have dried and it will be easier for me to slope those edges.  We have the plants already, and I need to get them in the ground before they die!

What hobbies do you (or a loved one) have that help you manage mental illness?