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Creating Resilient Cottage Gardens with Native Flowers

Rain Garden: Veronicastrum virginicum, eupatorium, and calamagrostis 'Karl Foerster'

Rain Gardens: A solution to moisture, poor drainage problems and increased precipitation

The idea behind rain gardens is to collect precipitation runoff from impervious surfaces and use it to help sustain nearby plantings that serve to absorb and purify excess water before it is slowly reabsorbed into our groundwater. The concept is surprisingly simple: a depression is created in the landscape where the plants are placed, and water from rooftops, driveways, walkways, etc. is collected and redirected to these depressions, typically with downspouts and other types of piping, or a river of rock leading to the garden; this will also help to prevent erosion in the garden when heavy rainfall occurs. More info at your local Cooperative Extension office.

Native Rain Garden favorites:

  • Bee Balm (Monarda)
  • Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)
  • Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
  • Culver’s Root (Veronicastrum virginicum)
  • Hardy Ageratum or Blue Mistflower (Eupatorium coelestinum)
  • Helenium autumnale
  • Texas Star Hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus)
  • Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum)
  • Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
  • Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

Hot and Dry Gardens: Beautifying a Barren Landscape

Lack of rainfall creates another set of challenges. These parched areas are just plain tough to manage when it comes to plantings. They are dry, sometimes gravely/sandy, and perhaps difficult to access on a regular basis. But there is a solution: plant a dry garden!

By selecting plants that, when mature, can easily tolerate these rather austere conditions, you’ll have a beautifully landscaped area rather than an aggravation. They do very well in regular soil, only require watering during especially hot/dry spells, and generally do not require much for fertilizer or other care, aside from maybe scratching in some compost or granular, slow-release fertilizer upon planting. Don’t forget to water perennials during the first season of establishment.

Native Hot & Dry garden favorites:

  • Agastache
  • California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica)
  • Chocolate Daisy (Berlandiera lyrata)
  • Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) tolerates drought, but prefers periodic watering
  • Wild Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
  • Coreopsis
  • Cosmos
  • Mexican Hat (Ratibida columnifera)
  • Mexican Tulip Poppy (Hunnemania fumariifolia)
  • Poppy Mallow (Callirhoe involucrata)
  • Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium)
  • Rudbeckia
  • Showy Goldenrod (Solidago speciosa)
  • Standing Cypress (Ipomopsis rubra)

Hot & Dry Garden: Poppy Mallow and Coneflowers

Hazy, Hot and Humid Gardens: Beauty During High Summer

And yet there is still another condition that must be considered when adding new plants to the landscape. While some plants may be tolerant of wet soils, they might not tolerate humidity and heat very well, especially when they take place concurrently.

Native Hot & Humid garden favorites:

  • Artemisia
  • Bee Balm (Monarda)
  • Blazing Star (Liatris)
  • Cardinal Flower (Lobelia)
  • Coneflower (Echinacea)
  • Coreopsis
  • Culver's Root (Veronicastrum virginicum)
  • False Indigo (Baptisia australis)
  • Helenium
  • Penstemon
  • Smooth Phlox (Phlox glaberrima)
  • Rudbeckia
  • Salvia
  • Stokesia
  • Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
  • Texas Star Hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus)
  • Texas Sage (Salvia coccinea)

Hot & Humid Garden: Blazing Star and Rudbeckia

Hot & Humid or Rain Garden: Bee Balm and Culver's Root (Veronicastrum)