Millsboro to hold rain garden workshop, planting

On May 21, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., a rain garden “how-to” will be held at the Millsboro Civic Center.

“From 10 a.m. to noon, we’ll have a lecture on why rain gardens are important and the basics of rain garden construction. The second part of the day, we’ll be focusing on getting the plants into the ground,” explained Sarah Hilderbrand, education director of Environmental Concern Inc., a public not-for-profit corporation that is dedicated to working with all aspects of wetlands.

“So we’re hoping that folks will come out and learn and then will be willing to give back a little bit and help to install plants for the rain garden that will be used as a demonstration gardens for the community.”

“This was part of our ‘Thousand Rain Gardens for the Inland Bays’ initiative,” added Sally Boswell, education and outreach coordinator for the Center for the Inland Bays. “We are hoping to have citizens and businesses and schools and others create a thousand rain gardens in the Inland Bays watershed to help handle the increasing amount of impervious surface that we have in our watershed and help handle the stormwater.”

Bosewell said that the CIB is hoping to have a demonstration garden in each town within the watershed, so that citizens can become familiar with them.

“Putting them in public places, like town halls, so people could see them, and also a place where people could pick up a copy of a booklet to give them instructions on how to build a rain garden and that has a list of native plants that could be used” is a goal, she said, adding that rain gardens have already been installed in Millville, Clarksville, Ocean View, Dagsboro and Rehoboth Beach.

Rain gardens are a way to benefit the local waterways, as well as provide habitats and beautify the area, Hilderbrand noted.

“They have a variety of water-quality benefits, which is the main focus we have on them. They help collect stormwater runoff and help it infiltrate into the ground, while at the same time removing sediments and excess nutrients,” she explained.

“We call it a local solution to stormwater pollution,” said Boswell. “It’s something homeowners can do and, in planting a rain garden, it helps them understand something that is kind of complicated and boring.

“Rain gardens are a way that a regular person who owns a property can lessen the stormwater impact on our bays. It’s just one of those things that were created as a way to manage stormwater where it falls and as a way to help people in communities understand what they can do personally. And this is something that people can do.”

Boswell said that rain gardens are a good way to help deal with nonpoint-source pollution.

“It could collect water from a downspout coming off of a roof or off of a sidewalk in front of your house or driveway. What makes it a rain garden is it is collecting water from impervious surface. It is something that has been of great interest, as we have been trying to deal with more and more stormwater.”

The CIB is currently trying to track the number of rain gardens in the watershed and their locations.

“We don’t know how many are out there right now,” Boswell said. “On our Web site, people can register their rain gardens. So we would really love for people who have already made a rain garden to register, so we can know how many there are in the watershed.”

Both Boswell and Hilderbrand said they hope community members will attend the workshop to learn a little more about rain gardens, and perhaps get inspired to create their own.

The Millsboro Civic Center is located at 322 Wilson Highway in Millsboro. Advance registration is required by contacting Sarah Hilderbrand, at or (410) 745-9620. For more information on rain gardens, visit To register a rain garden, visit