HINSDALE — Whether you are impressed or dismayed by the rain gardens outside Hinsdale Central High School may show how much you know about landscaping.
The gardens may look lush, but actually they are overrun with weeds.
Unlike the rain gardens outside Hinsdale South High School, much of the vegetation planted in the gardens at Central, especially the one on the east side of the main entrance, died.
The rain gardens were planted as part of the renovation of the main entrances at both schools last summer. The plants sit atop a drainage system.
Water did not drain quickly enough from the gardens at Central, due to the composition and thickness of the soil above the drain, said Rick Young of Perkins + Will, the district’s architect for the construction projects.
“Water wasn’t percolating through the soil,” Young said.
At South, the soil composition is the same, but the beds are not as deep.
The heavy rains in April exacerbated the problem, Young said.
By May, it was evident many of the native plants at Central, including ornamental onion, butterfly weed and white prairie clover, had died.
What’s flourishing there in their place are plain old weeds.
Allied Landscaping Corp., which planted the rain gardens last year, has a plan to replace the dead landscaping, but is waiting to hear whether the school district wants to adjust the soil bed.
Some of the plants will be replaced at no cost to the district because they are under warranty, said Stephanie Mueller of Gilbane Building Co., the firm hired to manage the construction for the district.
But some plants that died as a result of the heavy rain will not be under warranty, she said.
District 86 School Board member Ed Corcoran has balked at a $35,000 proposal to remedy the situation.
He said a solution, who has to pay for it and why still has to be determined.
Once the gardens are established, school administrators hoped to use them as a learning tool for the students.
“The goal is to make it attractive for the school and to provide a learning environment,” acting Superintendent Bruce Law said.