Tuesday, July 05, 2005

We're environmentally sensitive


Today the public discussion in Lancaster County is focused on recharging the groundwater, cleaning up the stormwater run-off before it enters the creeks and streams and the impact Lancaster County streams and rivers have on the Chesapeake Bay.

Dale works for Terre Hill Concrete Products. They have developed a new product called Terre Kleen. This is designed to remove oils, litter and sediment from storm water, then allowing the storm water to continue it's flow to the receiving waters.

Forgotten Seasons Bed & Breakfast is located in Warwick Township. This township is a leader in environmental issues and is recognized nationally for the accomplishments that have been achieved here in the township. Here at the B&B, we have looked at how we can contribute to that effort on our own property. Click here to see some pictures of grounds around the B&B.

First, we have a swale that channels the storm water runoff from the adjacent properties and East Newport Road into Erb Run. Erb Run is a small spring fed stream that flows through the Warwick Township Linear Park. Previously this swale was always mowed and kept trimmed. Therefore the stormwater runoff ran right through the property without stopping.

Today, we allow the grasses to grow to their natural heights, added some ornamental grasses, wild flowers and a willow tree.

This is all designed to slow the water flow down during a storm and to allow the storm water runoff to recharge into the ground. This has the effect of reducing the runoff that actually gets to the stream, thus helps to reduce flooding of Erb Run.

Second, we do not fertilize or put weed killer on the lawn. This reduces the nitrate levels that endup in the Chesepeake Bay. Mow the grass, it looks just as green as a treated lawn and you are not having a harmful effect on those downstream. Plus you save the money that would have gone to the lawn care service.

Third, we started an all natural wild flower garden in the "upper forty", located on the right side on the entrance drive when you're driving around back to the B&B. We placed all of our dead leaves, grass clippings, dead branches in this area over a three year period and allowed them to decompose. Then we added a load of horse manure from a stable our friends owned and turned everything into the ground. This process changed a hard clay piece of ground that did not absorb water into a rich, fertile soil. Today, when you walk in this area, you can sink up to your ankles. It's like a sponge.

To the untrained eye, this is a bunch of weeds. However, look closely and you'll find flowers blooming in this garden all summer long. The garden does not need extensive weeding because, heck, about half of them are weeds themselves that happen to produce beautiful flowers. They are native to the area and drought resistant so they do not need watering. We go up in the morning cut a bunch of flowers, put then in vases and display them through out the Bed & Breakfast. No cost, low maintenance and they pretty up the house all summer long.

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