Christ Church boasts new Meditation Rain Garden
A newly constructed meditation garden at Christ Church in La Plata beckons community, church members and others to relax and unwind.
With a larger mission ahead, the garden is a benchmark for other participating organizations granted funds by the Charles County Watershed Protection and Restoration Program (WPRP) and the Chesapeake Bay Trust.
“We are thrilled with this new garden and I couldn’t be more happy with how it has turned out,” the Rev. Timothy Johnson said.
“The faith community has been such a wonderful new partner in protecting and creating natural spaces,” Jana Davis, executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Trust, said in a news release. “These green spaces have such power to accomplish so many goals, from those that benefit us (reflection, meditation, human health) to those that benefit habitat for other creatures. We are thrilled that the county has partnered with the trust in making resources available for these types of projects.”
The meditation garden was funded by the Charles County Watershed Protection and Restoration Program (WPRP), the Chesapeake Bay Trust and led by the Port Tobacco River Conservancy and the Church Christ congregation.
“The full grant amount that was awarded for this project was $37,123,” said Abbie Huntzinger, senior program officer of the Chesapeake Bay Trust. “We hold 10 percent of the project fee until the project is close to completion.”
According to a press release, this garden was designed to capture rainwater from the church’s roof, which allows it to slowly soak back into the ground — exactly as called for by the WPRP. The idea is to reduce the amount of rainwater that turns into stormwater, carrying pollutants into Charles County waterways during and after storm events.
The garden is also habitat-friendly with plants thriving in the local conditions, thus creating a sanctuary for humans and animals alike.
“The garden was constructed and planted last summer and it was finished in August, and it was very well received,” said Julie Simpson, member of the Port Tobacco Conservancy.
The meditation garden boasts four unique attractions: shallow depressions that collect and absorb stormwater, plus rain barrels, which reduce runoff by harvesting the downspout water for later use in the landscape. It also showcases healthy soils, a foundation of plant life, and provides them with nutrients. Native plants have an important relationship with local wildlife.
“We try our best to educate people with what this garden is all about with the posted signs,” said master gardener Martha Eldredge. “We collect water in the rain garden with rain barrels so that we are not using drinkable water to water the plants.”
According to press release, several other grants will be awarded to local watershed programs and non-profit organizations taking the lead on community-driven projects. The grants will total more than $30,000.
The new partnership forged between the county and trust is looking to grow. The deadline for the next round of funding is set for September. Churches, schools and other not-for-profit organizations are encouraged to apply for the projects.
“Charles County is undertaking in-the-ground efforts to do our part to help restore the Chesapeake Bay, its rivers, streams and other natural resources,” said Erica Hahn with the Charles County Department of Planning and Growth Management. “We recognize that restoring the bay and its tributaries takes teamwork, and this grant program is a great opportunity for the county to partner with local communities and organizations to have a positive impact on rivers, streams and the bay.”
A section of the meditation rain garden at Christ Church in La Plata. This garden was funded through the Charles County Watershed Protection and Restoration Program and the Chesapeake Bay Trust. Below, Master Gardner Martha Elredge, left, and Julie Simpson, a member of the Port Tobacco River Conservancy, lay mulch and help put the final touches to beautify the new meditation rain garden at Christ Church in La Plata.
Another section of the meditation rain garden at Christ Church in La Plata.