We just bought our first home. Now that the snow has melted, we are just finding out what our yard has in store for us. We have a real sponge of a yard in one corner of the house where the neighbors tell us they heard there is an underground river. Is there any kind of bushes we can plant that will help absorb some of the water? We are going to build a retaining wall in that area and some nice bushes with that purpose would be great.
I would advise contacting a professional in your area before building a retaining wall or pursuing any construction. If you do indeed have an underground river running through your area, chances are your retaining wall will slowly begin to collapse and not last but a year. After you have found out for sure it is safe to build there are a few options in shrubs that love moist soils or tolerate water. There aren’t any shrubs that absorb more water than others but many that thrive in wetland type areas. Primarily trees and shrubs in the willow family prefer wet areas and tolerate full sun. Nishiki Willow and Arctic Blue Willow are two shrubs in this family. Clethra prefer moist soils in full sun to partial shade areas and have clusters of fragrant small white flowers blooming July and August. Weigelas also tolerate more water than most shrubs. The weigela has many small funnel type or bell shaped flowers in reds and pinks, blooming in May through June with sporadic blooms through summer.