What’s a Rain Garden? FAQs for the Northwest Gardener

by Janaki Kilgore of Wonder-Flora Landscape Design

As inspired by our upcoming Rain Gardens 101 class this Saturday, July 25 at 9am, Janaki Kilgore of Wonder-Flora Landscape Design gives a FAQ for the Northwest Gardener on what rain gardens can do for you. Call (360)676-5480 to register or online here.

Photo Cred: Wonder-Flora Landscape Design

Photo Cred: Wonder-Flora Landscape Design

What are rain gardens and swales?
They are landscape features designed to direct rainfall, allowing it to soak into the ground and grow plants

Why build rain gardens?
Plants and soil work together to filter and store stormwater before it can quickly wash away, reducing pollutants flowing into our waterways

Locate rain gardens below where rainfall flows off roofs, driveways and other impervious surfaces and at least ten feet from buildings

How to do it?

  • Make a plan: choose the site, test the soil percolation, determine rain garden size
  • Work when the soil is dry and avoid compaction!
  • Use earth moving equipment or digging forks and shovels to shape the land
  • Mix sand and compost into native soil, or replace with ‘ bioretention’ soil
  • Conveyance systems direct water flow, rocks stabilize the inflow and outflow
  • Right Plant, Right Place: Choose plants for moisture, drought tolerance, sun or shade
  • Mulch. Weed. Water for the first year or two. No chemicals, please!
Model Rain Garden

Model Rain Garden


  • Directing stormwater to where we need it – in the garden!
  • Creating function and interest with changes in topography
  • The layered landscape: Bulbs, groundcovers, annuals, perennials, shrubs, tree canopy


  • Healthy soils and thriving plants
  • Creating micro-climates for moisture loving plants and for plants needing fast drainage
  • Weed suppression, low maintenance and low water use landscapes
  • Stormwater management and biofiltration= less pollution in our creeks, rivers and bay
  • Welcoming wildlife: the birds and all the beneficial biology
  • Four seasons of beauty!

Resources for a successful project: www.wastormwatercenter.org

For more information on rain gardening and Wonder-Flora Landscape Design, visit Janaki’s website here.


February Mid-Winter Photo Contest


Hey Snap Happy Garden Photographers!

Every season, we provide a photo contest for gardeners to submit pictures of their garden. As a year-round garden store, winter is an exciting time for us. Soil beds are being prepped, seeds are being planted, hellebores and primroses are popping color into planters and garden beds.

There’s no theme, just have fun! Photos can include outdoor garden beds, planters and other wintertime wonders.

Submission deadline is Monday, Feb. 16th. First-prize winner will receive a $20 gift certificate to our store! (Perhaps a new pair of gloves, another row of primroses, etc.)

The Low Down (or the Rules):

  • No experience or skill necessary
  • One photo per submitter (only one submission please)
  • Make sure the photo is in .jpeg or .png format
  • Send to Audra at audra@garden-spot.com
  • Include your name, number, and email with your submission

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Audra with the email provided.

Good luck and happy snapping!

Mid-Fall Photo Contest


Hey Snap Happy Gardeners!

It’s that time of the season for our Mid-Fall Photo Contest and we’re looking for anything outdoors that promotes this time of year: pumpkins, gourds, decorated porches, autumn gardens, seasonal containers, harvested veggies, etc.

If it feels like fall, then it looks like fall!

This contest will run for two weeks from October 23rd through November 6th (for those who want some Thanksgiving instead of Halloween themed submissions, although both are accepted for submission).

First prize receives a $20 gift certificate to our store!

The Low Down (or the Rules):

  • No experience or skill necessary!
  • One photo per submitter (only one submission please)
  • Make sure the photo in .jpeg format
  • Send to Audra at audra@garden-spot.com
  • Include your name, number, and email with your submission

Here’s the link to our Mid-Summer Photo Contest submissions for inspiration:


Have fun everyone! We can’t wait to see what your autumn has unfolded!

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact Audra at the email address provided above.

“Photo of the Week” on Facebook

Happy Friday friends! This week was the start of our “Photo of the Week” contest on Facebook. Here’s how it works: You post photos of your garden, projects and containers to our Facebook page. Every week we will choose a winner who will receive a gift planter.

It’s that simple!

So if you didn’t post anything this week, be sure to get your photos posted for next week’s contest. Here’s the winning photo this week:

Brandon and Robin Larson

Brandon and Robin Larson’s backyard garden is both beautiful and functional. While we can only imagine the work that went into the hardscaping, we admire their cleverness in creating a space that will be relatively low-maintenance with the raised beds, gravel paths etc.

Broad swaths of color define the space, while small details like the mason jar lantern give it character. We love the firepit at the center, and can only imagine the fun gatherings they will have over the years. Thanks for sharing Brandon and Robin!

You could win next week, just post your fun gardening photos to our Facebook page