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Shoreline Rain and wetland GARDENs

Location: The intersection of North and South Lake Drive, lakeshore
What's Nearby:  Miller Bell Tower and the Pier Building

Physical Characteristics: 

The Shoreline Rain Garden and the adjacent Shoreline Wetland serve to mitigate the potentially harmful effects of storm water runoff and erosion at the lake edge near Children’s Beach and the Pier Building.  These natural buffers are replete with deep-rooted native plants which slow water flow, absorb excess nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen, and provide host plants and habitat for a variety of beneficial organisms.

Rain and melting snow carry nutrients and potential pollutants from lawns and paved areas toward the lake. Left unchecked, this runoff can detrimentally affect the lake, resulting in harmful algae blooms. Since Chautauqua Lake has been designated as “impaired water” due to an overabundance of dissolved nutrients, rain gardens play a critical role in minimizing the amount of nutrient-rich runoff entering the lake. Furthermore, well-entrenched root systems stabilize the shoreline, protecting it from wind and water erosion.

Among the larger plants that grace the Shoreline Rain Garden are serviceberry and riverbirch, both of which tolerate moderate flooding. Shrubs planted there include ninebark, hydrangea, spicebush (host plant of the spicebush swallowtail butterfly), leatherwood, red chokeberry, redosier (or red twig) dogwood, pussy willow, winterberry, and Virginia sweetspire. These native species provide food, nesting habitat, and windbreak for numerous creatures.

Herbaceous perennials growing within the Shoreline Rain Garden include purple coneflower, cardinal flower, bee balm, gayfeather, and Joe Pye weed. Late-season bloomers New England aster and black-eyed Susan provide essential nectar after most other flowers have gone to seed. Native grasses little bluestem and switchgrass, with their tough and extensive root systems, anchor the top layer of soil in place.

The Shoreline Wetland, located just north of the pier, serves to buffer the impact of relentless wave action upon this site. Stone bedding, native wetland grasses, cattails, and hardy aquatic plantings mount a formidable defense against wind and water erosion, while providing habitat, filtration, and excess nutrient absorption.

Endowment: This garden was recently endowed as a gift from a private donor.

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WHAT'S IN BLOOM?

Plant census in progress for the next 18 mos observing 2 full summer seasons + year round. Updates in progress throughout.

SPRING
Coming soon

SUMMER
to be accounted, Joe Pye Weed, ninebark, hydrangea, spicebush (host plant of the spicebush swallowtail butterfly), leatherwood, red chokeberry, redosier (or red twig) dogwood, pussy willow, winterberry, and Virginia sweetspire, purple coneflower, cardinal flower, bee balm, gayfeather. Late-season bloomers New England aster and black-eyed Susan

FALL
little bluestem and switchgrass, cattails

WINTER
Coming soon