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A Lasdon Park and Arboretum garden will soon be getting a makeover, that not only will give it an aesthetic boost but also upgrade its filtering power to cleanse storm water runoff from a nearby parking lot, County Executive George Latimer announced today.

A rain garden at the Somers park was built years ago to handle storm water runoff from the parking lot, but it was not formally landscaped during its construction. As a result, a hodgepodge of plants now encircles the garden, hiding much of it from view and choking its basin with unwanted vegetation. The rain garden will largely be re-planted during Pitch in for Parks Day on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Thanks to funding from the Westchester County Soil and Water Conservation District, the County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation will be purchasing plants and seed mixes to reinvigorate the garden, using largely volunteer help. An interpretive sign will be installed following the refurbishment to educate the public about the benefits of rain gardens and native plants.

Latimer said: “This is a collaborative effort that not only will improve the look of a very visible feature at Lasdon Park and Arboretum, but will also improve our environment. I’m looking forward to seeing the garden after it’s been rejuvenated by our dedicated County staff and volunteers.”

After the existing vegetation is removed and the garden is prepared for planting, staff and volunteers will plant native shrubs such as elderberry, chokeberry, buttonbush and spicebush, native perennials such as blueflag iris, rush, pickerelweed and common boneset, and seed mixes containing native grasses and wildflowers.

Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Conservation Kathy O’Connor said: “Lasdon is a jewel in the county’s park system. It has a dedicated group of volunteers who work with County staff to make sure the park shines as brightly as possible.”

Commissioner of Planning Norma Drummond, the department which manages the Soil and Water Conservation District, said: “This rain garden was installed years ago to help lessen the amount of phosphorus and other pollutants that mix with storm water runoff from roads and parking lots in our northern watersheds. Its retrofit will greatly improve the garden’s intended benefit.”

County staff will assist volunteers participating in the event. The event is co-hosted by the Westchester Parks Foundation and Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation. For more information, go to Pitch in for Parks 2020.