Richland Soil and Water

rain garden

Rain gardens are created to take advantage of water run-off from rooftops and driveways by diverting it into a shallow depression that is planted with native plants and shrubs. These gardens capture and filter storm water before it flows into storm sewers, creeks and rivers. Native plants provide beauty to the landscape as well as food and shelter for local birds, butterflies and other animals. These gardens capture and filter storm water before it flows into storm sewers and into our creeks and rivers. Native plants provide beauty to the landscape as well as food and shelter for local birds, butterflies and other animals. 

Why Plant Rain Gardens? 

The news has been saturated (pun intended) with water-related headlines lately: last year, Toledo’s water was contaminated with toxic algae. Locally in central Ohio, we’ve experienced elevated nitrate levels and localized flooding from heavy rainfall and runoff. Though compacted and paved suburban or urban landscapes are limited in their ability to absorb rainfall, the creative gardeners among us can capture their rainwater in a rain garden. Treating your own home’s runoff is one way residents can protect our drinking water while decreasing harmful effects on waterways from flash flooding, erosion, and pollution. Storing water temporarily in a rain garden allows it to draw down slowly, preventing the possibility that it will pick up pollutants and carry them to the nearest stream. Water is naturally filtered as well: gardens remove and degrade contaminants through microbial processes, plant uptake, exposure to sunlight, and absorption to soil particles. Properly designed rain gardens capture the first inch of rainfall, and drain within a day. Since most storms produce less than one inch of rainfall, capturing it reduces pollutants significantly. Source: Franklin SWCD

Rain Garden Manual for Homeowners

Common Milkweed Seed Pod Collection 

To help foster the creation of habitat for the monarch butterfly, Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative (OPHI), in cooperation with Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Districts organizes a statewide Milkweed Pod Collection each year September 1 to October 31.

Please join us in collecting Common Milkweed seed pods each year from October to November. The collection bin is located outside our office door. We wait to put it out because in Central Ohio the pods aren't ready to be picked until about then.

Milkweed is essential to the survival of monarch butterflies in Ohio, which is a priority area for monarchs. The monarch butterflies that hatch here in the summer migrate to Mexico for the winter and are responsible for starting the life cycle all over again in the spring.

Milkweed is the only host plant for the Monarch butterfly for egg laying and caterpillar rearing. It also serves as a food source for Monarchs as well as many other pollinator species. The disappearance of milkweed across the U.S. has contributed to an 80% decline of the eastern monarch butterfly population over the last 20 years.

Collecting Seed Pods

  • Become familiar with common milkweed to avoid harvesting pods from similar plants such as hemp dogbane and swamp milkweed. 
  • To collect the seed pods from a Common Milkweed plant it is best to pick them when they are dry and gray or brown in color. If the center seam of the pod pops with gentle pressure, they can be picked. 
  • Don’t collect pods that are already open, as they might be infested with insects. 
  • Place collected pods in paper bags or paper grocery sacks. Plastic bags collect unwanted moisture. 
  • On the bag, please write the date you collected the pods and the county you collected them from. 
  • Keep the pods in a cool, dry area until you can deliver them to the Richland SWCD office. 
  • Only collect from your property or property you have been given permission to go on; do not trespass. 
  • During the winter, seeds from the milkweed seed pod collection will be removed from the pods and returned to Richland SWCD in the spring to be distributed for planting. 


Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative Website  

Other SWCD's collecting Common Milkweed pods

Check with your local Soil and Water Conservation District to see if they are collecting Common Milkweed pods. However, you can always take them to any district's collection, they do not have to go to the county you collected them in or live in.


Learn More About Native Plants

Watch this video about the benefits of Native Plants and our upcoming Native Plant Sale.

Learn how to make a Milkweed Seed Bomb.

If you want to attract birds to your feeders, watch this video with Gail Laux, Founder and Executive Director of the Ohio Bird Sanctuary.