I have about 100 feet of flowerbed that follows a damp drainage path. The area is 100% in the sun, no shade. I would like to plant some plants along this flowerbed that don't "spread" over time - can tolerate the damp soil of the drainage area, bloom, and come back every year.

Separately - at the end of this bed, where it actually goes towards the drain, I would like to plant some kind of spreading moss or something that blooms and would spread so that it eventually can cover the drain. That area is also on a bit of an incline.

The top soil is kind of low, and shale-y, so I guess I will have to dig a hole and put in some topsoil at each planting location? The climate is near the Washington DC area.

Any ideas on what could make this look great? I would also like any ideas on the right kind of edging for the outside edges of this bed. Here are some pictures

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  • anything you do the grass will want to join the party
    – kevinskio
    Commented Jul 11, 2016 at 0:51
  • yeah, which is funny because the whole reason I started this project with the rocks down the middle is because the grass would never grow there because it was too wet i guess
    – Derek
    Commented Jul 11, 2016 at 0:55

2 Answers 2


Although technically not "Maryland", DC is probably about the same climate 7a/b. I would suggest making it a "native area" if possible for you; maybe even allowing some of that mowed lawn behind to become native wildflowers & prairie type grasses. You could "edge" the "wild" area using rocks as @stormy suggests and/or downed tree branches, limbs (good sized, not twigs), or even fireplace-type cut logs.

A few moist to wet but sunny area native plan suggestions are below. All are native perennials.

swamp, common, butterfly and other sun milkweeds(Asclepias incarnata, syriaca, tuberosa) - endangered monarch butterfly:

white turtlehead (Chelone glabra) - Baltimore checkerspot butterfly - highly endangered http://wildmaryland101.blogspot.com/2012/09/maryland-flora-white-turtlehead-chelone.html

joe-pye weed (Eupatorium dubium) - nectar plant for numerous pollinators and butterflies http://www.chesapeakebay.net/fieldguide/critter/joe_pye_weed

May be more ideas at Washington Area Butterfly Club, but I haven't hung out there much.

Be sure to obtain native plants already adapted to local environment. I mistakenly bought A. tuberosa from a western supplier supposedly best suited for the clay area of my yard, but it hasn't fared as well as the locally (well,.. New Jersey) A. tuberosa even in that clay dirt section of my yard. I wouldn't use potting soil or similar, just local dirt. Keep the A. syriaca from spreading by clipping the seed heads before they dry & "fly away".

Also, do not use any of the milkweeds if you're near horse or cow grazing land. I'm only guessing that you're not.

Hope this helps.


Where does this ditch drain to? Is there a perceptible slope? I would continue with what you are doing. I am hoping you put landscape fabric under the cobble. That is the ONLY reason this stuff was made, not for weed suppression. The fabric will make sure the FINES don't come up into your cobble/drain rock.

Get rid of ALL THE REST of the fabric. You can easily 'weed wack' the lawn on both sides so the grass comes up to the cobble and stops. Gotta be aware, get a fixed head for your trimmer and get rid of the shield. That way you can see what you are doing. WEAR SAFETY GLASSES OR I'LL KICK YOUR BUTT! Grins...I had two guys lose eyes because they went around the corner and took their safety glasses off, sorta like teenagers!!

Use a few LARGE boulders here and there along the perimeter. Not uniform please. 2 or 3 in a group buried a bit and then one and then down closer to the center of your 'stream' with 4 or 5 and make them look like they've always been there. One man boulders can appear as 4 or 5 man boulders if buried and put together, their bulk 'hidden' below. Having lawn come right up to the rockery and trimmed once a week is BEAUTIFUL. Careful where the rocks will fly if you hit them!! I've busted out two of MY truck windows in the past! Those shields do nothing except give one a false security.

And make sure you get a GAS blower! Even your mower and trimmer should be gas. Get real about the environment! Far more important things we should be doing than using wimpy equipment!!

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