In the Garden: September

By Layne Knoche, RORG Landscape Designer

Amazingly, the first month of fall is already here! As with the past few years, September will be another busy time in and around the Red Oak Rain Garden. There are a lot of exciting things happening!

Upcoming Projects

The week of September 13, plants are being delivered for what the RORG team is calling an “expansion” of the garden. The new planting areas, which have been fenced off and treated, are located just to the west of the garden and will be planted with a variety of native and “nativar” species. Several university classes and community organizations are scheduled to help install these plants on September 15, 17, and 19. See below for upcoming volunteer opportunities.

Around the same time, work will be ongoing around the Dorner Drive Retention Pond, just to the south of the rain garden. The RORG team is working with UIUC Grounds to treat this area to eliminate non-native plants and to allow nearly an acre of high-quality Illinois native seed mix to grow over the coming years. For more updates on the Dorner Drive project, check out this blog.

Late in the month, several new native trees and shrubs will be installed to the south and east of the garden, creating a screen between the rain garden and the McKinley Health Center parking lot.

All of these installations were made possible by the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation‘s Community Stewardship Challenge Grant and by the generous support shown by many of you.

Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities

The RORG team is seeking volunteers to help spread mulch prior to planting. We are also seeking volunteers throughout the day on Friday, September 17 to help our Master Gardener and Master Naturalist volunteers installing plants. If you are interested, please send an email to

What’s In Bloom

Summer blooms are beginning to fade as fall approaches. Still, there are several species still showing off their color: Purple Coneflower, Rosinweed, Black Eyed Susan, White Turtlehead, and Purple Poppy Mallow will continue to bloom for several more weeks. Our showy Smooth Blue Aster is not far behind.


Now that the bridge has been built, our fundraising focus has shifted to the installation of interpretive signage that will explain the purpose of rain gardens, the general history of the Red Oak Rain Garden, and all of the co-benefits that come along with rain gardens. If you’re interested in supporting this phase of the project, please go to  

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