Demonstration Gardens

Native Gardens at Maplewood Nature Center
Visit the gardens around the Visitor Center for inspiration for your home landscape. You will find a native garden for nearly every situation from wet to dry and sun to shade. The WaterWorks rainwater system demonstrates ways to put rainwater to work in the garden.

There’s always something to see in the native gardens. The prairie gardens bloom from May until hard frost with colors and textures changing as the seasons advance. Many native shrubs provide berries for the birds. Get more information about Yard and Garden.

Visit the Woodland Garden in Spring
Enjoy the delicate and ephemeral woodland wildflowers in the woodland garden near the patio. Sit on the bench to enjoy the wild geraniums, yellow violets, anemones, wild blue phlox, and more growing under the shade of a basswood tree. These woodland flowers all take advantage of the sunlight before the trees leaf-out in late spring. Basswood flowers are an important nectar source for bees.  

Best Woodland Wildflower Viewing Period: Late April into early June
Gardens for Bees, Butterflies & Other Pollinators
Flowering plants that nourish pollinators are planted throughout the Nature Center yard. These natives selected from prairie, savanna, and woods provide food for caterpillars, butterflies, hummingbirds, bumble bees, and other beneficial insect pollinators.
The lovely orange flowers of butterfly weed offer nectar to many butterfly species in midsummer while monarch caterpillars feed on the leaves. Cardinal flowers attract hummingbirds, and bumble bees visit purple asters in late summer.

Best Pollinator Viewing Periods:
  • Monarchs: Sunny days from August through early September
  • Bumblebees: July through August
  • Hummingbirds: Mid-summer to late summer


WaterWorks is a comprehensive system for managing water from roof to garden. Water storage and channeling features include rain barrels and canals, rain gardens, pervious pavers, and a rain planter.
  • Custom rain barrels store rainwater from the roof for use in the gardens.
  • Rain canal carries overflow from the rain barrels to the raingardens.
  • Rain gardens are planted depressions that capture and hold rainwater runoff for up to 48 hours while water slowly infiltrates into the ground.
  • Rain planter is a large, tiered vessel which functions as a reservoir for the rain coming off the roof, down a rain chain, and tumbling onto the splash rock. Plants in the rain planter take-up some rainwater, and the excess water filter through the soil and is channeled via the canal to the rain garden.
  • Pervious pavers have gravel between and beneath them, which allows water to seep from the surface to the underlying gravel bed.
You, too, can take these WaterWorks concepts and adapt the water saving and channeling features for your yard. Learn more about WaterWorks (PDF).