In 2014, the Lancaster County Conservancy—in partnership with the Wolf Museum, Westlawn property owner, and neighborhood volunteers—installed rain barrels, a rain garden, and dry creek bed to address storm water runoff while enhancing the 2012 botanical native plant gardens. The biodiversity that this garden supports is rich with over 200 species of trees, shrubs, and herbaceous perennials planted in phases starting in 2012. As part of the urban corridor movement, it is certified as a National Wildlife Federation Habitat and a Pollinator Friendly Garden. Many berrying shrubs and trees attract a variety of birds. An untreated lawn area now sustains pollinators with drifts of clover and violets.
The botanical garden areas include sunny perennials, a woodland garden and fernery, rain gardens, a hydrangea collection, a viburnum collection, and a wide assortment of other native trees and shrubs. Several memorials, a stone sculpture, and birdbaths provide added interest.
Two 50-gallon rain barrels collect water from Westlawn that can overflow into a large 240 square-foot rain garden. One downspout is fed by 1,500 square feet of roof surface; in a 1inch rain storm it processes 938 gallons into the large rain garden. Another downspout is fed by 210 square feet of roof surface equalling 131 gallons of water in a 1 inch storm that flows into the dry creek bed.
An additional 10 foot by 12 foot by 35 foot dry creek bed infiltrates water from two additional rain spouts. A smaller, 50 square-foot rock-lined rain garden collects water from a downspout on the museum building. The large, open-air compost bin was recently dismantled for a painting project at the Westlawn garage. Contents were spread onto the beds to enrich the soil, and the bin is now relocated near the rain barrels.
We offer this reflection as you tour our property: "Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the Earth are never alone or weary of life." — Rachel Carson