Matt Kelly and Katie Scott-Kelly of Cape St. Claire lead a full life, but find time to keep their home in a very environmentally friendly manner.
Katie, a member of the Cape Garden Club, is an engineer by trade. She works with a program called HEC RAS, or Hydrologic Engineering Center River Analysis System. It's used for modelling flood plains and water flow through rivers and other channels. Sometimes she works with local legend Keith Underwood, also known as "the Bogman." The scale, beauty and effectiveness of his projects elicit oohs, ahhs and great admiration from all the people who work and volunteer for the Bay, Rivers, and Watersheds.
So it comes as no surprise that there are lots of nice stormwater devices and such in the Kelly's yard. There are four rain barrels to catch all the water from most of the downspouts, preventing it from rolling down the street to the creek. Some of this water is slowly released into various gardens, and some of it is saved for use in dry times. On the front corner of the house, two of the downspouts are channeled underground in an ingenious manner and rerouted to the large front Rain Garden. It's chock full of native plants such as Switch grass, Joe Pie weed, Broom Sedge, and Black Eyed Susans. These were mostly bought from a place on the Eastern shore called "Environmental Concern." They specialize in native plants. There is also a great selection of vegetables like cukes, peppers, squash and strawberries grown in the rain garden, with a very cool drip irrigation system recently installed.
In the back yard, there's a big beautiful "meadow garden," and of course a composting center tucked into a corner. It really helps to reuse all the leaves and food scraps as natural fertilizer, rather than filling up the county landfill with them.
All around the yard you'll find lots of gorgeous trees, most of which, of course, are native species. A big Fringe tree frames the front corner of the yard, with an American Redbud in the middle. The Bayberry bush on the corner of the house is vibrant and beautiful even in these dry times. That's one of the benefits of native species; they require very little watering or fertilizing, since they evolved in this climate and these soil conditions. Kelly said many of the trees came from the National Arboretum, just off New York Avenue in Washington DC.
It's always a pleasure to get to know such good neighbors, and to learn how much they care about our world and the waters that keep us healthy and alive. Thanks, Matt and Katie!