Herself's Houston Garden

Conservation through cultivation

Swale Garden





What to do with the soggy mushy parts of your property? How about planting some plants that love water? Known down here as Swale Gardens these are gardens planted in areas that either remain damp or flood after a rain and remain wet for a while.

The first thing to do was to dig a trench about 8″wide x 4″deep along the edge of the wet area and fill it with gravel. This takes the water off the lawn and funnels it into the swale garden.

Now all the water is running into the swale garden when it rains, but the lawn is still mushy. I lined the area between the trench and the lawn with larger rocks.

Much better, now the lawn is dry and the garden has all the water.


Now the fun part comes. Filling it with plants. The irises were here when we purchased the home. I’ve added curly rush, papryus, umbrella flower, spider lilies, agapanthas and all have done well so far.

Other recommended plants for rain or swale gardens in the Houston area include: Cardinal Flower ( Lobelia cardinalis ), Lizard tail ( Saururus cernuus ), Spider lily ( Hymenocallis liriosme ), Pickerelweed ( Pontederia cordata ), Leatherwood, Titi ( Cyrilla racemiflora ), Horsetail ( Equisetum hyemale ), Buttonbush ( Cephalanthus occidentalis ).

See also:
Horsetail rush
Corkscrew Rush
Yellow Flag Iris
Umbrela Plant

More information:
Rain Gardens Sprouting up Everywhere
Going native with plants: A new-old direction for water conservation