What is a rain garden?

A rain garden preserves and restores the natural water cycle

Rain gardens are a shallow landscaped basin designed to capture stormwater runoff generated by impervious surfaces, like parking lots and rooftops. Stormwater runs off into the rain garden keeping harmful pollutants and sediment from draining to our streams and rivers. The soil and plant roots filter pollutants carried by stormwater runoff, improve water quality, encourage infiltration and groundwater recharge as well as reduce flooding. The plants in the rain garden return some of the water into the atmosphere through the process of evapotranspiration.

... and a rain garden creates habitat

Plants in the rain garden are native to the region and require less resources than typical landscape plants. Their flowers attract pollinators and provide critical habitat to butterflies, birds, and bees.

Learn about some of our plants!

Bee Balm

Bee Balm, Perennial

Monarda x 'Sugar Buzz Cherry Pops'

Monarda is known by a number of different common names including bee balm, Oswego tea and bergamot. It has beautiful blooms of red, pink, purple and white that attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees, Bee balm typically occurs in bottomlands, thickets, moist woods and along stream banks and grows 2-3 feet tall.

Best grown in rich, medium to wet, moisture-retentive soils in full sun to part shade; soil should not be allowed to dry out. Deadhead flowers to prolong summer bloom.

Blueflag Iris

Blueflag Iris, Perennial

Iris versicolor 

We all know this one! Blueflag iris is a clump-forming iris that grows in marshes, swamps, wet meadows, ditches and shorelines. Flowers may be any shade of purple, but are always decorated with yellow on the falls. Grows 2-3 ft. tall.

Grown in medium to wet soils in full sun to part shade.

Blazing  Star

Blazing Star, Perennial

Liatris spicata ‘Kobold'

Blazing Star has spikes of tufty, fluffy, purple flowers on rigid stalks 2-4 ft. tall, bloom from July into August. Dense Blazing Star is a valuable nectar source for native bees and butterflies. Plant in masses or as vertical accents. 

Somewhat tolerant of poor soils, but prefers moist, fertile ones as it occurs in moist low grounds, meadows and marsh margins.

Pennsylvania Sedge

Pennsylvania Sedge, Grass

Carex pensylvanica

Pennsylvania sedge is a low, clumped, shade-loving perennial grass that is 6-12 inches high. It is native to thickets and dry woodland areas and seems to be resistant to deer grazing! Foliage is pale-green in spring and summer, turning sandy-tan in fall.

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Prefers loose loams in dry soils in sun-dappled part shade. Plants spread by rhizomes.

Switch Grass

Switch Grass, Grass

Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah'

Switch grass is a clump-forming, warm season perennial grass which typically grows to 3 feet tall. Bright green leaves occur up and down the stem, turning bright yellow in fall.

The rich, yellow-colored clumps last throughout the winter.

Easily grown in average, medium to wet soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerates a wide range of soils, including dry ones, but prefers moist, sandy or clay soils. Tolerates occasional flooding.