Creating a Rain Garden with Native Plants | Branded Content | General Home & Garden | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
click to enlarge Creating a Rain Garden with Native Plants
Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)

Spring has finally arrived in the Hudson Valley, and of course, so has the rain. While all that water plays a vital role in the local ecosystem, it can also cause problems.

Excess rainwater in urban or suburban neighborhoods runs off into sewers, and during heavy rain events it can overload local sewage treatment facilities, leading to pollution of local waterways. And if you live in a more rural locale, excess water will pool in the same places on your land over and over again, which can erode soil or just cause a nuisance in your yard.

According to John Messerschmidt, owner of Hudson Valley Native Landscaping, you can do your part to mitigate the effects of excess rainwater by planting a rain garden.

Below are a few of his favorite native plants for rain gardens that will capture water and provide food and shelter for butterflies, song birds, and other wildlife.

Bird-friendly shrubs

click to enlarge Creating a Rain Garden with Native Plants
Black elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) has tiny white flowers that appear in June, giving way to black elderberry fruits in late summer.

When his team feels like there aren’t enough birds visiting an area, they’ll plant shrubs that produce berries such as bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica), black elderberry (Sambucus canadensis), winterberry (Ilex verticillata), or any variety of native viburnum.

All of these shrubs handle water well and will grow to about 10 feet tall with dense foliage—making for great privacy screens. 

Perennials and shrubs that pollinators and butterflies will love

click to enlarge Creating a Rain Garden with Native Plants
Water-loving blue verain (Verbena hastata) has purplish-blue flowers that bloom July through September.

Coneflowers, asters, and brown-eyed Susans are great additions to rain gardens, but be sure to branch out to lesser known native plants as well.

Perennials like great blue lobelia (lobelia siphilitica), blue vervain (Verbena hastata), and white beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis), as well as shrubs like sweet pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia) and buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) are sure to make a statement in any landscape and keep your nearby butterflies and bees happy.

To learn more about the benefits of adding native plants to your landscape, visit

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