Native Plant Demonstration at VH Commons

Quick Facts:

  • The planting area consists of 2 gardens that were previously infested with invasive reed canary grass that now contain mature native plants, with a focus on flowering plants for pollinators.
  • These mature plants produce seed that is collected by VLAWMO staff and volunteers for use in other restorations in the watershed.
  • Each garden is ~270 square feet for a total of 540 square feet.
  • The runoff coming from the Vadnais Heights Commons drains into Lambert Creek and East Vadnais Lake.


This effort was funded in partnership with the City of Vadnais Heights and the VLAWMO Landscape Level 1 grant program. The City of Vadnais Heights also provided: Vehicle time for transportation of plants, Public Works time to clear invasive species, and mulch and supplies for upkeep (ongoing). A local youth group from Unity Unitarian Church volunteered to complete the planting with VLAWMO staff in 2019.

Reasons for project:

  • Park beautification in a high-use public space. 
  • Establishment of plant species that contribute more to soil health than conventional ornamental plants. 
  • To demonstrate the possibilities of native species planted in clumps.
  • Plants in the garden were selected to produce flowers and support pollinators throughout the growing season.
  • A source for seed collections to support other restoration efforts in the watershed. 
  • To support the community and environmental goals of Vadnais Heights Parks and Recreation.


  • The installation process involved chemical treatment for invasive reed canary grass (2 applications during late summer 2019) and a skid steer to remove dense reed canary grass root masses.
  • The design of the raingarden was completed in partnership with VLAWMO staff and the City of Vadnais Heights Parks and Recreation.

Native plants in the gardens include:

Pennsylvania Sedge, Ohio Spiderwort, Blazing Star, Virginia Mountain Mint, Butterfly Weed, Black Chokeberry, Snowberry, Turtlehead, and Cardinal Flower.


The gardens provide an educational tool for residents and businesses interested in learning more about working with native plants. Residents can observe how the plants change through the seasons, find a new favorite plant, or possibly watch pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds up close. 

Check out the VLAWMO Soil Health Grant or the cost-share resources page for financial support and resources on working with native plants.


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