Rain gardens can be a beautiful addition to your site and will attract beneficial pollinators while controlling storm water and run off. By choosing a wide range of native plants, you can enjoy flowers from spring into fall, stunning fall color and unique winter interest. You’ll also create habitat for butterflies, bees, birds, amphibians and more.
Some native plants are particularly suited to a rain garden environment where they may be inundated for periods of time and then experience drought. Deep roots hold soils in place and allow for greater drought tolerance. For a sunny raingarden, consider swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), wild bergamont (Monarda fistulosa), swamp rose mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos), to name a few. For a shadier site, don’t forget the sedges! Their cascading foliage and handsome seed heads add dimension in a shade raingarden. Try palm sedge (Carex muskingumensis), awl-fruited sedge (Carex tribuloides) or brown fox sedge (Carex vulpinoidea).
Look for a low spot on your property where water naturally collects. Observe how water flows across your land. Sometimes a problem area near a drain or in a swale offers the perfect situation to plant a rain garden. Some questions to ask as you begin evaluating your site include:
- Is it a sunny or shady spot?
- Is it hidden or an area that will become a focal point?
- Does water collect and pool for days or a few hours?
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