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Sunny Rain Gardens

Deep-rooted native plants can absorb many inches of rain per day, dramatically reducing run-off into streets.

sunny rain gardens

Photo: anoldent (flickr)

Butterfly and Joe-Pye weed.

Soils that host deep-rooted native plants can absorb many inches of rain per day, dramatically reducing run-off into streets, gutters, sewer systems and fragile waterways.

Some plants to include in rain gardens are phystostegia virginiana with the common name of obedient plant. Though, it’s too aggressive for small gardens, as it spreads widely in wet soil. It blooms August/September in zones 3 – 9.

New England aster, rose mallow, hellenium, turtlehead and Queen of the Prairie are also plants to consider, as well as Southern blue flag iris, which will tolerate some brief flooding early in the growing season as well as moderate dryness in late summer.

Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium maculatum) has dusty-rose flower clusters and a tall stature and also absorbs moisture well. It is a magnet for dozens of species of butterflies. Any wet area near your home, such as a depression or ditch, can be transformed into a mini-sanctuary for moisture-loving native plants that will also attract pollinators, birds and butterflies.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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