Saturday, December 8, 2007

Landscape - Plants for Water's Edge

The following are some ideas for landscaping the edges of ponds, streams, and water features.

Well-planted pond or stream edges can improve ecological conditions and the natural beauty of your property. By overcoming our propensity for neatness along these edges, we can improve water and habitat quality. Plantings can filter nutrients and pollutants that flow from lawn and impervious surfaces of your landscape. Nurture deep-rooting, shade- and habitat-producing plants to create a more attractive space for desirable fauna, and observers of fauna, and help make the most of your property’s natural potential.

Many of the same shrubs that excel in wet conditions, such as winterberry, chokeberry and sweet pepperbush also thrive at the water’s edge. Some stunning perennial flowers prefer conditions of a riparian edge, such as cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis), great blue lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica), scarlet rosemallow (Hibiscus coccineus), Joe pye weed (Eupatorium dubium and E. fistulosum), hardy ageratum (Eupatorium coelestinum), woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata), bee balm (Monarda cvs. such as 'Raspberry Wine' and 'Coral Reef') and sneezeweed (Helenium cv.). Much of the water’s edge vegetation has a narrow vertical form such as cattails (Typha angustifolia) and common rush (Juncus effusus). Several ferns provide a perfect contrast to that vertical form like interrupted fern (Osmunda claytoniana), ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris), and lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina).

Copied from "Liveable Plants for the Home Landscape", Authors: Susan Barton, University of Delaware, Sarah Deacle, Delaware Center for Horticulture, Gary Schwetz, Delaware Center for Horticulture, and Doug Tallamy, University of Delaware. For the full publication with photos go to

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