Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


If you have it, you can grow this:Portland Japanese Garden

If you don't have water you can grow this.Northern NM

The Santa Fe Audubon Society captures rain in great barrels to help water the gardens near the Visitor Center. Rain and melting snow falls from spouts directly into the barrels and is siphoned off from there.

My dear friends in Santa Fe struggled for some twenty years, buckets in showers, to hand carry water to the garden. When they finally fitted the entire roof of their one story adobe home and garage with a water capture system the garden sprang to life.Santa Fe Greenhouses estimates they have one acre of roof surface and collect about 320,000 gallons of precipitation in their 38,000 gallon cistern.
And what are we doing about water in New York City? Not much! Rain water drains from rooftops into the sewer system. 70% of the sewage system carries combined rainwater and water flushed from our toilets. When a heavy rain comes along, there is flooding at the corners where sewers are backed up. With a really heavy rain, some subway lines are flooded. We pay to process all of the water together, even that which is not raw sewage.
Meanwhile a building such as mine is reluctant to wash the pavement with a hose or water the tree wells more than twice a week because water is too expensive.The Queens Botanical Garden demonstrates one solution above. On the green roof of their new Visitor Center, rain water is absorbed by soil and taken up by the plants that live there, helping to alleviate some of the flooding in other areas of the low lying garden.

On The High Line in the Chelsea section of Manhattan, bog plants are grown in special containers that are watered regularly.On my roof I've grown a bowl of carniverous bog plants for kids including the ever-popular Venus fly trap.If we don't have enough water we'll be reduced to this:

Or this:


Urban Gardens said...

Valuable information, but also hilarious. Thanks for the humor lift.

cindy said...

(and thanks for the press for QBG!)

meemsnyc said...

Water is expensive in NYC. That's partly why we have 2 rain barrels!

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