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Friday - September 11, 2009

From: Pottstown, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Water Gardens
Title: Water-loving native plants for Pottstown, PA
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I live about 40 miles west of Philadelphia. I am looking for a water absorbing evergreen tree/bush/plant that I could plant in the rear of my yard. We get a small stream every good rain and the back half of the yard stays water saturated. The yard in that area gets full sun. The soil has a lot of shale throughout.


We have a How-To-Article Water Gardening that will give you some ideas on how to treat this area, but that is not exactly what you want. What you want is a wetland or a rain garden, with plants that can both withstand dry weather as well as having their feet in standing water for a short period. The rain garden is not only a way to deal with streams of rain water and with saturated soil, but also helps to filter out pollutants and filter the water before it goes rushing off to lakes and your water supply. Here is an article from Rain gardens of West Michigan with some basic information to get you started thinking in that direction. 

The best reference source we found was from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Rain Gardens, a How-To Manual for Homeowners. It is fairly lengthy, and probably involves more than you actually need or want to do for your problem area, but it has good explanations of why a rain garden is important to water and soil conservation and quality of our water supply, while giving you an attractive, useful area in your yard.

And, finally, this website Native Rain Gardens makes our point about native plants. In the same vein, please read our How-To Article A Guide to Native Plant Gardening. Our next step is going to be selecting grasses and herbaceous blooming plants that do well in sun, tolerate wet feet, are perennial and are native not only to Pennsylvania but to the area around Montgomery County in southeast Pennsylvania. Follow the links to the webpage on each individual plant to learn more about the soil the plant prefers, expected size, color and time of bloom, etc. These are all attractive garden plants that will function well in a rain garden, but if you would like more choice, to our Native Plant Database, and do a Combination Search, selecting the characteristics and habits that you feel apply. 

Herbaceous blooming plants for a rain garden in Pottstown PA

Acorus calamus (calamus)

Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed)

Equisetum arvense (field horsetail)

Eupatorium perfoliatum (common boneset)

Iris versicolor (harlequin blueflag)

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower)

Lobelia siphilitica (great blue lobelia)

Scutellaria integrifolia (helmet flower)

Solidago rugosa (wrinkleleaf goldenrod)

Grasses and grass-like plants for a rain garden in Pottstown PA

Andropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem)

Carex stipata (owlfruit sedge)

Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani (softstem bulrush)

Acorus calamus

Asclepias incarnata

Equisetum arvense

Eupatorium perfoliatum

Iris versicolor

Lobelia cardinalis

Lobelia siphilitica

Scutellaria integrifolia

Solidago rugosa

Andropogon glomeratus

Carex stipata

Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani




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