Nickson’s garden adds functional beauty to campus


Volunteers posing amidst dirt for the rain garden (photo by Christine Nickson).

Nickson directing volunteers on the worksite (photo by Abbey Quinn).

Two years ago, a Homewood alumna had the idea for a rain garden on the gym side of the school, and this past weekend, it was finally put into action. Eagle Scout Hugh Nickson, along with help from the Homewood Environmental Club, fellow Eagle Scouts, and other volunteers, completed the project.

On Saturday from 8-12, these volunteers met at the high school and dug a hole, then filled it with gravel to filter water through. The 15 volunteers then covered the gravel with dirt and planted 12 different species of plants. 

They finished the primary rain garden on Saturday, and then went back from 9-12 on Sunday to clean up and use the excess materials to make a raised bed garden adjacent to the rain garden. According to Nickson, they moved 2.5 tons of dirt out of the ground and moved approximately 1.5 tons of dirt and mulch back into the hole.

“It’s been a very long day of labor, but it’s very fulfilling,” said Nickson on site Saturday afternoon. 

Nickson’s project was funded through a $2,300 donation of materials and plants from SiteOne Landscape Supply.

The project had several goals. Nickson said the rain garden aimed at stopping erosion and soaking up rainwater in the area. He said that the garden was deliberately planted at this site because it is a downward slope, causing water to wear down the dirt and flood the bowl of the slope.

The completed rain garden (photo by Hugh Nickson).

Nickson also said that the rain garden will increase the nutrients in the soil under and around it. Since it will slow the water soaking into the ground, it allows for more water to be absorbed. He said that this will improve the overall health of the soil.

The rocks under the soil and around the garden filter the water through, allowing it to not overwhelm the plants and seep into the deeper soil.

He said that the project is also to make the HHS campus more beautiful by adding two gardens in an area that was previously dirt and pine straw.

“It was nothing and now it’s here,” said Nickson.

Nickson expressed gratitude to SiteOne, the Environmental Club, and his various other volunteers for helping him accomplish the build of the rain garden in less than two days and for providing a functional and beautiful garden for the school.