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As climate change brings more frequent rain events, these plants fare well in wetter areas

Dark bluish-purple clusters of berries hang from branches with stout dark green leaves.
Adam Smigielski
Aronia, also known as chokeberry, is one bush that is happy in wetter soil conditions.

With bigger and more frequent rain events brought on by human-caused climate change, you can either raise up your garden or try planting things that thrive in wetter conditions.

Human-caused climate change is bringing more frequent and heavier storms to our region. What does that mean for the types of plants you have in your gardens and raised beds?

There are two solutions for home gardeners: elevating your garden soil by creating raised beds or finding plants that thrive in wetter conditions.

The good news is that several plants, flowers, shrubs and trees are more adapted to wetter conditions and grow well in our region.

Depending on growing conditions and the space you have, there are several plants, trees, shrubs and flowers that thrive in wetter soil conditions, are pollinator friendly, and provide visual drama and fruits for birds.

Aronia, or chokeberry, grows 3 to 4 feet tall with beautiful white flowers. It likes wet areas, and pollinators like the flowers, while the birds eat the berries. You can eat Aronia berries, too, and make jams, wine and even ice cream.

Winterberry is a shrub in the holly or Ilex family. These plants can grow well on the higher banks in damp areas, as they do need some water drainage. The berries produced on this plant are another important food source for birds.

More from Vermont Public: For berries that provide essential nutrients for migrating birds, plant these two types of bushes

The shrub known as Clethra grows up to 6 feet tall and does well in wetter conditions. It's a flowering plant with white and pink fragrant flowers, which are great at attracting essential pollinators.

Some perennials, like Ligularia or yellow rocket, blossom into spikes of daisy-like flowers and do well in shady spots under trees.

Marsh marigolds are in the buttercup family and resemble them, too. These flowers will be blooming soon in wet areas. Lobelia cardinalis, or cardinal flower, boasts vibrant red-colored blossoms, living up to its name.

And a native plant you might have seen growing along the shores of Lake Champlain is a great choice if you have the space. The buttonbush, or Cephalanthus, is a flowering plant that grows 10 to 15 feet tall and is common in wetland or swamp habitats. With its spiky, pin cushion-like white flowers with red fruit, it looks like it came from the imagination of children's book author Dr. Seuss.

A question about planting clover with zinnias

Q: I've planted a zinnia garden before with great results and I'll be starting another one this season. I also have a small apiary and wanted to double down on resources for them. That being said, could I plant clover in with the zinnia, thinking it would maybe help shade the roots of the zinnia and offer some additional resources for the bees and add nutrients back into the soil? - Renee, in South Carolina

A: Creating living mulch like this is a good idea. You just have to be cautious with clover, as it can grow aggressively. White clover is lower-growing and could easily take over your flower bed in just one season.

If you go this route, the first year, your zinnias and clover will coexist, as the clover will take a bit of time to get established.

By next year, though, your zinnia garden will be a full-fledged clover bed! Then you'd have to rip out patches of clover in order for your zinnias to continue to thrive.

Another option could be planting wild strawberries. They would be a good resource for bees as well as offer additional nutrients for the soil.

Strawberries would not fix nitrogen like clover would, but they will not grow as thick and you'll be able to thin them out and pop your zinnia plants in easier.

Seeking solutions for struggling phlox

Q: My well established summer phlox have gotten progressively worse over the years. It starts with the stalks getting brown and drying from the ground up. And then the top flowers don't flower. I've noticed the phlox seem to be mounding in large clumps in the flower beds and they're really dense. - Robin, via email

A: In this instance, it sounds like the phlox probably need to be divided. It's common for phlox to get too clumped up and thick.

Dig them out this time of year and divide them into separate clumps and then replant the phlox spaced out so they get better air circulation.

Moving them and giving them some space will also help with the overall health of the phlox and help avoid powdery mildew, too.

You might even consider getting a few new phlox varieties that are mildew-resistant, as well.

All Things Gardening is powered by you, our audience! Send us your toughest conundrums and join the fun. Submit your question via email, to, or better yet, leave a voicemail with your gardening question so we can use your voice on the air! Call Vermont Public at 1-800-639-2192.

Listen to All Things Gardening Sunday mornings at 9:35 a.m., and subscribe to the podcast to listen any time.

Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on Vermont Public. Charlie is a guest on Vermont Public's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.
Mary Williams Engisch is a local host on All Things Considered.