Drainage problems in the Garden
First let me tell you that I think it is so very nice of you to offer such
a great service to people. It is rare to come across a person who will
offer great advise at no cost :o) I think it is a wonderful thing to
share knowledge with others, in hopes that they too may become better
at whatever it is they seek. THANX. Ok now on to my question. I have
an area in my backyard just to the right of my back porch. The area
is about 8x8 and there are 2 problems with it, one, it floods, and two
it gets no sun..none...zilch. My question is this, how can I develop
this area to where it doesn't retain water, and two what type of wild
flower or plants can go there that will live in full shade. This area
is from my porch to the corner of my house. I live in southeastern lower
Michigan(if that helps). The soil is like a black clay. I look forward
to hearing from you. And I thank you for this wonderful service.
This is one of those situations where it would be helpful for me to see the
overall contour of the land, and exactly how much water is involved. Not
being able to do that, I'll just have to use my imagination. I'll give
you the first three options that popped into my mind...
The easiest method would be to raise the ground level in that area by importing
a truckload of topsoil, so that it is no longer the low
course, then, the concern would be where the water run off would end up.
Another option would be to create a French ditch to funnel the water into
another spot where it can return to the environment. The ditch could lead
away from the flooded area, or preferably divert the water before it even
reaches the flooded area. This idea is only feasible if there is an area
somewhere else which is accessible and lower to send the water to. You
would have to dig a ditch leading to the lower area, line it with plastic,
and then cover the plastic with gravel or river rock. While this may not
sound very pretty on paper, I have seen it become a very effective part
of the landscape. The third choice might meet with a resounding 'NO
but you might consider utilizing the water by creating a backyard
goldfish pond, or a simple fountain. I personally find the sound of running
water very peaceful. There are several good books which can instruct you
on how to create backyard ponds and fountains.
As far as shade tolerant plants, the options are limited by your Michigan
location but my #1 choice would have to be ferns. Just about any type of
hardy fern will do very well in your situation. They not only do well in
shade, but they love moisture, and will utilize much of the water in this
area. There are other plants which do well in the shade, but their hardiness
can vary according to the particular variety. Your local nursery will be
able to tell you which varieties will survive your climate. Forget me not (Brunerra
, although not glamorous, will survive almost anywhere.
Plantain lilies (Hosta)
are for the most part hardy, and will survive
without sun. You can find a wide range of colors, flowers and foliage with
Hostas. You can add a bit of fragrance and small white flowers to the area
with Sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum).
Solomon seal (polygonatum
and the Monkey flower (Mimulus hybridus)
do well in your 'shade garden'.