Thursday, August 18, 2011

Elementary School Rain Garden

This is a rain garden at a local school. I came across it while riding through the area on a bicycle. It was after regular school hours and only a few staff members were around that didn't seem to know much about the garden. It seems a storm water runoff area has been dug out similar to those in some neighborhood parks but instead of mowing it is being allowed to grow out. There are several wetland loving plants that look like may have been seeded in but otherwise is being left alone. Out of curiosity I will make some calls to see what maintenance is planned. A fall or spring mowing maybe?

You can see plenty of swamp milkweed. A few monarches flew out where ever I came close and a dragonfly pair kept passing by chasing one another about.

Cattails flourished and may have self seeded as they are common in low wet spots.

A ribbon of rocks simulating a streams flow makes its way through the garden.

Helenium /sneezeweed is abundant and just beginning to bloom. I would not have thought of helenium as a good rain water plant but it seems to thrive.

Many honey bees were active on the blooms. I will have to go back a few times and see what other bees are utilizing the garden.

A skipper was another butterfly making use of all the blossoms.

Big black wasps and these more colorful brothers were attracted to the feast as were many flies.

It was a pollinator haven...

In the forefront of this picture are a few not yet blooming forbs that are probably a goldenrod
with a late summer/fall bloom.

A closer look at the helenium. Did you notice the lack of grasses? I wonder if that is deliberate.

The white flowering plant will need another look. Care to make a guess?

Way to many young tree seedlings growing. Are there plans to remove them? A spring burn seems unlikely so just a mow down? Hopefully this is on the agenda.

What ever the plans for this remarkable garden, kudos are due to the administrators bold move to make a try at this storm water management that is such a great habitat.


Blogger garden girl said...

Hope they plan to maintain it - looks like a lot of really nice plants there. Hard to tell from the photo, but the foliage on the white-blooming mystery plant looks like it could be Culver's root.

We have heleniums in our swale - they're great in areas that flood, and they can also tolerate dry soil. They're surprisingly shade-tolerant, and look best in shade if pinched to prevent/minimize flopping, and maximize bloom.

20/8/11 1:20 PM  
Blogger Gloria said...

Thanks for the suggestion of culvers root. I'll check.
I liked the helenium, yellow flowering plants seem to have lots of pollinator traffic in late summer.

26/8/11 11:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This type of garden does not need to be mowed. That would defeat the purpose of the "rain garden". This garden is very beneficial to the environment. It will help filter pollutants and meet the needs of the little insects! Enjoy!

20/9/11 8:47 PM  

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