What kind of seed is it?

Thanks for stopping by our table at the Franklin Park Zoo! We hope that you learned something about how to protect and conserve water while you were visiting.

The seed that you brought home with you today is a Rudbeckia, Goldsturm otherwise known as a Black-eyed Susan.


Some facts about Black-eyed Susans:

  • They are a hardy perennial (will return every year)
  • Grow well in full sun to partially shaded area
  • Drought-tolerant
  • Grow 18-24″ tall from midsummer through the fall
  • Great for beds, borders, or meadow areas
  • Excellent for cutting
  • Attractive to butterflies
  • Maintenance-free once they are established

Not necessary, but you may consider:

  • Removing faded flowers regularly to increase the blooming time
  • Dividing plants in the early spring to grow even more Black-eyed Susans on your property. (Or give them away to family and friends!)

How to Care for Your Black-eyed Susan Seeds

  • Keep your potted seed indoors in a warm well-lighted area and keep the soil moist
  • Seedlings will emerge in about 21 days
  • Transplant to larger containers when seedlings have at least 2 pairs of leaves
  • Grow the plant indoors until mid-May and then you can transplant it into the garden or patio pot. This is typically past the chance of frost in most of Massachusetts but some places will need to wait until after Memorial Day.

Plants Help Keep Our Waterways Clean

rain garden from web 2The #1 cause of water pollution in the Neponset River Watershed is Polluted Stormwater Runoff.

There are many engineering solutions to help reduce polluted stormwater, yet a simple and effective one includes the use of plants!


What is Polluted Stormwater Runoff anyway?

Our communities are surrounded by acres of pavement, concrete, and “impervious surfaces” — solid surfaces that water cannot flow through.

When rain falls on these hard, impervious surfaces, it carries many pollutants into storm drains, which lead to our local waterways, and pollutes our local ponds, streams, and rivers.

We call this dirty, untreated water polluted stormwater runoff.

Common contaminants that may be found in polluted stormwater runoff include:

  • bacteria from dog waste that is left on the ground
  • fertilizer and pesticides
  • oil or gasoline from cars, trucks, motorcycles
  • grass clippings/yard waste
  • trash and plastics

Examples of impervious surfaces included:

  • paved roads
  • highways
  • driveways
  • patios
  • parking lots
  • playgrounds
  • rooftops

How Plants Can Help Reduce Polluted Stormwater Runoff

Try Building a Rain Garden!

A good way to deal with stormwater is to let it soak into the ground and be naturally filtered by plants and soil.  This eliminates pollutants, reduces flooding, and increases natural groundwater recharge.

Rain gardens are shallow, vegetated “basins” about six inches deep that collect and absorb runoff from rooftops, sidewalks, and streets.

During rainstorms, runoff enters the rain garden and slowly filters into the ground to provide moisture for the plants. The runoff is filtered and cleaned naturally by soil and plants.

Rain gardens are built by digging a shallow depression and planting native species of plants that are tolerant of wet and dry conditions and which don’t need artificial fertilizers.

Rain gardens are extremely flexible. They can be filled with formal garden plantings or can be designed for minimal maintenance with native shrubs, small trees, or even grass. They can be mulched like a typical garden bed, or not.

Ideally, a rain garden would be about 6 inches deep and 10-15% of the size of the paved or roof area that drains into it, but they can be deeper, shallower, larger, or smaller to suit your site and your tastes.


Click here to learn about other ways to prevent polluted stormwater runoff.


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