Bring the rain – SNJ today
Original gardener Meredith Koenig was knee-deep in dirt last Wednesday afternoon. This was where she wanted to be. With her kneeling pad, garden gloves, and shovel, Meredith, 84, (pictured left), has been busy planting irises and purple chokeberry at 108 South Seventh Street, home of the Vineland Historical Society.
Finally, the grounds of the Vineland Historical and Archaeological Society (VHAS) are now home to a rain garden. The garden project began in March of this year, followed by a field visit in April. At the time, the plan was to locate the garden on the north side of the building. The Board of Trustees had concerns about the garden being located too close to the building’s foundation, so the garden location was moved to the south side of the building in a large open lot. Relocating the site requires a new engineering survey and plan, as well as another site visit from ANJEC, the Association of Environmental Commissions of New Jersey. The association works to preserve open spaces and protect water resources. According to its website, a growing number of urban environmental committees across the state are working with local officials to help revitalize their communities.
On October 3, the final design for the rain garden was sent to the VHAS Board of Trustees by Hollie DiMuro, who works in the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program.
Just one month later, on November 2, the board received notice that due to the schedule change, there was an opening on November 13 for the rain garden installation. Although the time was fast, the Board of Directors unanimously agreed to get it done.
The rain garden is 675 square feet and is shaped like a kidney. It will capture approximately 50,000 gallons of rainwater annually.
Rain gardens are specifically designed to manage stormwater runoff, mainly from rooftops, but also from driveways, lawns, roads and parking lots. Rain gardens look like regular perennial gardens, but they are so much more. During a storm, the rain garden fills with water, and the water slowly percolates into the ground instead of running off into storm sewers. Compared to a patch of grass, a rain garden allows about 30 percent more water to seep into the ground. So, by capturing rainwater, rain gardens help reduce pollution from nonpoint sources (such as road sediment, salt, fertilizer, and grass clippings) and help protect local waterways.
The landscape architect modified the original plans for the rain garden to reflect the Victorian aesthetic more appropriate for the museum built in 1910. Selected native plants will provide beautiful color and texture in all seasons, especially spring and summer.
Native plants are species that grow in an area without human introduction. Only plants found in New Jersey before European settlement are considered native here. They have evolved over thousands of years to adapt to a variety of conditions in New Jersey and to other plants and animals surrounding them. The New Jersey Native Plant Society has identified more than 2,000 native plant species in our state, many of which are specific to the pineland habitat.
Native plants are better adapted to our local climate and soil and have natural defenses against plant diseases, harmful insects and other pests. The rain garden with native plants creates a new habitat for birds, butterflies and other wildlife.
Dr. R. was Alan Meunier, a life member of the Historical Society and professional archaeologist, is on site monitoring the three-day project from initial planning and digging on Monday to planting perennials and herbs on Wednesday.
“It will be a great addition to the landscape,” Munir said.
Allison Nivolis, an environmental engineer at Rutgers, was busy planting perennials on Wednesday, the final, “fun” day of the installation.
“Rain gardens are amazing and this will be a beautiful park,” she said.
Stay tuned for a colorful, thriving spring!
Naomi Ingeraldi is Secretary of the Board of Trustees of the Vineland Historical and Archaeological Society.
Open house at the museum
The Vineland Historical and Archaeological Society will host an open house on Saturday, December 2, as part of its Old Fashioned Christmas in Vineland celebration. The museum will be open from 4-7 p.m. with tours, snacks and a visit from Santa. The museum is located at 108 South Seventh Street in Vineland.
“The museum is a wonderful place to visit. It is unfortunate that it was one of Vineland’s best-kept secrets,” said Val Neuber, chairman of the board of trustees. “Many of the events and actions of Vinelanders have had a national impact on history. We want current residents and visitors to know what happened here.
“We would also like to share future plans for the museum,” said Warren Crescenzo, vice president. “Our goal is to build an additional 2,000 square feet to the existing museum. The plan is to add exhibition space, increase presentation space, and make the entire museum barrier-free, with an elevator and larger restrooms.”
Come early to the open house on December 2—before sunset—to catch a glimpse of the museum’s new rain garden.
Free street and parking parking will be available, and the museum will also serve as a stop on the Vineland Trolley Tour that day.