When it rains I and my friends get poo on our heads. Which is really, really, really yukky.
Why does this happen? Well, it’s because of combined drains. Combined drains take both sewage (which is what we call water after it has been used in our homes) and rainwater combined. When it’s not raining the system works fine. But when it is raining that is when the problems start…
Rhodri the rat did a really cool diagram for us. When rain is mixed with sewage there is too much water to all go through the sewage treatment plant. So some of it goes over the overflow weir and straight out to sea and that’s when we get poo on our head – uggghhh! The water that goes through the sewage treatment plant comes out nice and clean at the other end. We love that water!
So what can we do about it?
Frankie the flamingo wondered whether everyone should stop pooing when it rains. Which is a nice idea but wouldn’t really work because what if it was raining and you really needed to use the loo? Another idea she had is that I and my friends should all fly to Spain when it’s raining. But we haven’t got passports so that wouldn’t work either. What we need to do is to stop the rain getting into the sewers in the first place. And one way we can do that is by making a rain garden.
So what is a rain garden?
It is a place where the rain that comes down from our buildings, instead of going directly into the sewer, runs into a space that has flowers in it. You can see a great example from Rehan’s raingarden picture. First of all the rain goes into a rain garden planter. From there it runs down a pipe to a load of flowers at the other end.
Another thing you could do, if you had a flamingo pond, is to run the rainwater directly into the flamingo pond. Pretty cool idea huh??
That is what Frankie’s zoo did. Then later on the zoo made a pond for Mu and Eric the frogs, and their family. If you look at the picture below you can see that the rainwater from the roof of the giraffe house runs into a rain garden planter full of sunflowers. When the rain garden planter is full it overflows and runs into the frog pond.
There are some really good websites around about raingardens.
Slow the Flow is one of them.
The RHS website explains what sort of plants work in a rain garden. And how to build one. We have made a handout from it which you can download here.
This diagram is from Slow the Flow, and shows a raingarden planter.
Below are some plants that work really well in rain gardens because they don’t mind if sometimes their roots are sitting in water. They are fabulous photos. We got them from the RHS website.
Left, Hemerocallis ‘Red Rum’
Right, Hemerocallis ‘Wind Storm’