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


Gardening Gloves

The Atlas gardening gloves being sold were recommended by a local Master Gardener who has used them for years. They are durable and comfortable and cost $5.00 + tax. 

Rain Barrels

Two styles of rain barrels are available.

  • Blue poly plastic 55 gallon drum: It comes with a 3/4" male pipe spigot boiler drain and 3/4 male pipe thread to 1/2" hose barb connection and a downspout diverter. The cost is $70.00 + tax.
  • The 50 gallon barrel comes in granite (grey) or charcoal. The decorative top may be flipped over and used for planting. The rain barrel comes with a downspout diverter, black connection hose, inlet, spigot, drill bit with two hole saws, and a plug for downspout winterization. The cost is $100 + tax.

Either option conserves water and prevents runoff. 

Rain Barrel Presentation for Beginners

Rain Barrel Order Form

Native Plant Seed Packets 

Woodland Edge Seed Packet:

Have a shady spot in your yard and don’t know what to do with it? The Woodland Edge packet is perfect for that area where you don’t think anything will grow. All of the species in this mix are native to Ohio and are commonly found on woodland edges and in open meadows. Lower light levels are welcome. Performs well in areas that are not too wet or dry. Click here for more information on this seed packet. 

Rain Garden Seed Packet: 

This Rain Garden native seed mix is composed of native grasses and wildflowers that can tolerate wet events and dry areas based on season and the amount of rainfall. Also filters stormwater runoff. Beneficial and beautiful, the Rain Garden creates diverse color and is attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. Click here for more information on this seed packet.

Butterfly Hummingbird Seed Packet:

It doesn't get better than this mix for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. The 3 different species of Milkweed contained in this mix are host plants for the migrating Monarch butterfly. Watch in amazement as they complete their life cycle on these plants and use them as a source of nectar. Hummingbirds will love the bright colors and tubular flowers. The grasses contained in this packet add structure and diversity.  Perfect to get kids involved! Click here for more information on this seed packet.

Native Short Grass and Wildflower Mix: 

Grasses and wildflowers work together in harmony to create a pocket prairie to be proud of. This popular mix will provide first year color and then take about 3 years to fully mature. Create a backyard nature preserve that you will enjoy for years to come. Click here for more information on this seed packet.

Pollinator Partnership Native Seed Packet 

Help pollinators get the job done with this native seed mix packet designed with our friends at Pollinator Partnership. This seed mix has been designed for situations where first year color is desired and contains only wildflowers and no grass component. Year one will be mainly annuals but provide pollinators a much needed place to land. Year two will see some annuals, biennials and perennials, and by year three a beautiful mix of perennials will bloom all season and  provide a healthy and sustainable area for pollinators. This mix can be used alone, over existing grass plantings or combined with any of our grass only mixes. Click here for more information on this seed packet.

Septic Field Seed Packet

The native seed in this mix will become plants that help, in some cases, increase transpiration in your septic field. This blend of native grasses and native wildflowers prefers drier soils, with their root systems drawing moisture to help better utilize nutrients. Click here for more information. 

Purchase Details for Seed Packets: 

Native Seed Packets Order Form

Each seed packet contains 1 PLS (1 Pure Live Seed) oz. of seed which is enough to cover 250 square feet.

Detailed instructions on planting your seed packet are included with each purchase.

The cost for the seed packets is $16 + tax.  Please add a 3% convenience fee if you choose to purchase with a credit card. All sales are final.


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. 

Learn More About Native Plants 

Watch this video about the benefits of Native Plants and the 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.