Mercer Library Rain Garden

The Mercer Library has installed a rain garden!

What is a rain garden?

Rain gardens are designed to capture and absorb runoff to protect property and lakeshores from erosion. Rain gardens are a great option for collecting water from an urban lot or a lakefront property. These gardens allow water to collect and absorb slowly, creating a beautiful area in your yard. No, they don’t grow mosquitos! The water is absorbed within 24 hours, which is not enough time to breed insects. The Mercer Library’s rain garden directs water from a large portion of the library’s roof into the garden.

The Mercer Library rain garden was completed in the spring of 2021. This project was generously supported by the Friends of the Mercer Public Library and by the Iron County Land and Water Conservation Department. The Iron County LWCD has many resources for Iron County landowners who want to promote sound land and water stewardship.

Mercer Rain Garden Guide

Please note: Like any garden, our rain garden is a living, changing thing. This diagram shows an approximate layout of our rain garden, but some plants may be duplicated across the garden or in a slightly different placement than shown on the diagram.

MPL Rain Garden Plant List

Awl fruited sedge
(Carex stripata)
Alln/aMoist - wet24”-36”; important wildlife food source
Blue vervain
(Verbena hastata)
Full - partBlueMoist; well drained soils36-48”; pale purple flowers; grows in open fields; has medicinal properties; blooms June-September.
Cardinal flower
(Lobelia cardinalis)
AllRedMoist - wet36-48”; showy red flower spike; attracts hummingbirds and butterflies; blooms June-October.
Culver’s root
(Veronicastrum virginicum)
Full - partWhiteMoist48-60”; curving tapered spires; attracts birds & butterflies; blooms June-August.
Cutleaf coneflower
(Rudbeckia lanciniata)
Full - partYellowMoist48-60”; Yellow sunflower like flowers; attracts birds & pollinators; blooms June-October.
Dotted horsemint
(Monarda punctata)
Full - partWhite-lavenderDry - moist12-36”; white flowers are dotted with pink-purple; fragrant flower; attracts birds & pollinators; blooms June-September.
Early meadow rue
(Thalictrum dioicum)
Part - shadeGreen-yellowMoist24”; drooping tassel-like flowers; delicate leaves; blooms May-June.
(Campanula rotundifolia)
Full - partLavenderDry - moist16-24”; delicate, bell-shaped flowers; thin, grassy stems; shade tolerant; attracts hummingbirds; blooms June-September.
June grass
(Koehleria macrantha)
Full - partn/aDry12-24”; forms small dense tufts; attracts birds; cool season grass.
Little bluestem
(Andropogon scoparius)
Full - part
N/ADry – moist;
36”; amber foliage year-round; forms clumps; ornamental grass; attracts birds & butterflies.
Mountain mint
(Pycnanthemum virginianum)
Full - partWhiteDry - moist24-36”; small dense white flower clusters; attracts pollinators; blooms June-September.
New England aster
(Symphyotrichum novae angliae)
PartPurpleMoist24-36”; orange-yellow center with petals varying from pink to purple; attracts pollinators; blooms August– October.
Nodding pink onion
(Allium cernuum)
FullPinkMoist12”-18”; nodding pink flower; attracts birds & butterflies; blooms June-August.
Pale spike lobelia
(Lobelia spicata)
Full - partBlueMoist12-24”; delicate flowers along stalk; varies in color blooms May-June.
Poverty oat grass
(Danthonia spicata)
Full - partn/aDry6-12”; forms clumps of curly basal leaves; bluish-green color; attracts butterflies.
Rough blazing star
(Liatris aspera)
Full - partPurpleDry - moist24-36”; dense purple flower spike; attracts birds & butterflies; blooms June-October.
Wild columbine
(Aquilegia canadensis)
Part - shadeRed-yellowDry - moist12-24”; nodding bell-like red and yellow flowers; attracts pollinators and birds; blooms May-June.
Woodland sunflower
(Helianthus strumosus)
AllYellowDry - moist24-36”; yellow flowers in loose clusters at the top of the plant; attracts birds and pollinators; blooms July-October.

Additional resources

Learn more about rain gardens and how your can create your own garden to protect your property and our lakes.

Iron County Land and Water Conservation Department – resources for rain gardens and stormwater management

Rain Gardens: a beautiful way to reduce runoff pollution! – Wisconsin DNR

Wisconsin DNR Rain Garden Manual

UW-Extension Rain Garden Resources – how to’s and fact sheets

UW-Extension Wisconsin Native plants for rain gardens

UW-Stevens Point Extension Lakes – Rain Gardens