Rain Garden Installation Open at Medway Community Garden

There may be no end in sight to our soggy days of summer, but a new installation at Medway Community Garden is making excellent use of all the extra rain.

This spring students and staff from the Master Rain Gardener class offered through Clemson Extension installed our first large rainwater collection system at Medway Park and Community Garden. The system will collect runoff from the roof of the new pavilion designed and built by Clemson Architecture Center last fall. Collected rainwater will be stored in a 750-gallon cistern for the community garden and used to water the community garden. Excess water will be fed into a new rain garden with native plants.

Rain gardens like the one at Medway Community Garden are specifically designed to receive this kind of rainwater runoff in a depression to reduce erosion and improve downstream water quality. The rain garden is filled with a bevy of local plants acclimated to Charleston’s climate, which allows them to thrive in surplus or shortages of water.

The installation is part of the environmentally friendly practice of rainwater harvesting, which involves collecting rainwater from rooftops and storing it for later use. Benefits of rainwater harvesting include reducing the demand on municipal water supplies and reduce stormwater runoff, which can carry pollutants into nearby waterways. The rainwater, in turn, can be used at a later date when rainfall is scarce.

According to Clemson Extension, the 820-square-foot roof that is part of the new pavilion will run off approximately 510 gallons of water during a 1-inch rainfall. This runoff will be diverted to a 750-gallon cistern which will overflow into the 140-square-foot rain garden.

Community Garden Coordinator Leslie Wade hopes the installation will provide inspiration for park visitors to learn more about rainwater harvesting, which can be applied to their own home and gardens. “The rain garden and rainwater harvesting system here at Medway will show the neighborhood what they can do with harvested rainwater in their home landscapes and that it is possible to harvest rainwater and put it to use,” said Leslie.

Medway Community Garden now includes signs detailing how the rainwater harvesting works and its impact on the environment and wildlife.

To learn more [watch Clemon Extension’s video of the Rainwater Collection system installation](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3E-L8y3zUtk&feature=youtu.be) or visit Medway Community Garden today!

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