Planting the Red Oak Rain Garden: Week 2

by Layne Knoche, RORG Landscape Designer

Winter break is here and our team finally has some time to catch up on this blog. This post continues where Planting: Week 1 leaves off with September 24th – 27th.

Tuesday, September 24:

Drilling holes. Lots of holes.

After spending a long weekend at home to refresh my body and mind, I decided to return to RORG a day before our first volunteer workday of the week. I got to campus around 2:00 p.m. and stared drilling holes – lots of them. Drilling them is the most time-consuming part of the installation at this point, so in order to get way ahead of the next day’s volunteers, I drilled over 500 new holes for faster planting. Once again, shout out to the Guardians of the Galaxy Soundrack for being awesome!

We also spent a good amount of time watering the plants in the garden. Thanks, Tony!

Wednesday, September 25:

Ope. More Plants.

It was a fun day. With teams of just 3-5 people per shift, we still were able to get nearly 1,500 plants in the ground even after the morning rain kept some volunteers away! Some of the of the key species planted today were Rosy Sedge, Carex rosea, and Blue Flag Iris, Iris virginica shrevei, from Pizzo Native Plant Nursery.

Eliana, Kate and Tony attended the iSEE 2019 Congress, so when they arrived later in the evening, I was happy to see their faces light up when they realized how much our relatively small group of workers had achieved. The garden is really starting to shine. I finished out the day preparing for the next by drilling more holes.

Thursday, September 26:

Still more plants. Plus, INJURIES!

The day got off to a quick start. I set up the 20′ x 20′ grid in the final cell (the western area near the red oak tree) with the same string and stake method used in the other cells. Linda and Eliana attended to removing a few stray weeds while I painted more lines. Tony and I then came in to drill more holes, and more plants went in with help from the Master Gardeners, Master Naturalists, and several student volunteers. We were nearing the halfway point of the day when I started noticing I had to limp to walk comfortably. Even that limp became more of a wincing step each time my left foot touched the ground. I was just about to ask Eliana if she’d be comfortable filling in my role so I could take a trip to the urgent care to get checked out when I got a text from her, stating that she had sprained her ankle. Timing is everything, apparently! I attempted to guide Tony, who was still on site with the team of volunteers, on how to coordinate moving forward, but I wasn’t feeling too great and we ended up having to call it for the day. Shout out to Kate for helping me stay sane! I ended up having to have minor surgery on my foot, Eliana is in a boot, and Kate is still in a cast for her broken wrist, which is attributed to a failed attempt at an after hours Irish jig. Tony will now be wrapped in bubble wrap at all times.

Friday, September 27:

We’ve set up new days for planting next week, and we’re reaching out to more groups of people to bring in volunteers! We’re getting close and the finish line is in sight! We won’t let our injuries keep us down for long. Tony is going to take over drilling holes for me on Monday, and the rest of us will be around to coordinate the efforts! We cannot let Tony get injured!

How will this end? Will they get all the plants installed? Will there be more rainbows? Better read Week 3 to find out! (coming soon).

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