O’Keeffe Rain Garden

Earth Friendly Watershed

What is a Rain Garden? It’s like a sponge that can handle very large amounts of runoff water and clean it before it goes back into the Earth.

Our rain garden in a dry state

A rain garden is a planted depression that allows rainwater runoff from impervious urban areas like roofs, driveways, walkways, parking lots, and compacted lawn areas the opportunity to be absorbed. The purpose of a rain garden is to improve water quality in nearby bodies of water, by allowing rain runoff to be absorbed into the ground. Rain gardens can cut down on the amount of pollution reaching creeks and streams by up to 30%.

After a heavy rain; view towards the parking lot.

The O’Keeffe Rain Garden catches runoff from the parking lot at the Clayton E. Hutcheson Agricultural Complex, preventing the water from going directly into Lake Orth. Formerly a retention basin, the area was replanted with Florida native plants that can tolerate occasional flooding and standing water as well as severe drought. These plants filter and sometimes can even remove toxins from the water. This garden shows how we can improve the quality of all runoff water in our region. Native plants are recommended for rain gardens because they generally don’t require fertilizer and are more tolerant of one’s local climate, soil, and water conditions, and attract local wildlife such as native birds.

Collection Highlight:

Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)

In the wild, bald cypress can live up to 600 years, and are usually found near streams and rivers, as well as swamps with slow moving water. They grow throughout the Atlantic coastal region, as far west as southeastern Texas, and as far north as Delaware. The massive, buttressed trunks found on older bald cypress are thought to develop in response to growing in soft, wet soil.

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