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The Puddle Garden Children's Book about Native Plants and Wildlife

The Puddle Garden

Welcome to the Puddle Garden!

In this children’s story full of native plants and wildlife, learn how Bear Cub invited friends to his new home– by creating a Puddle Garden. Bear Cub plants cardinal flower, swamp milkweed, blue flag iris, elderberry, and more. His garden quickly fills with grateful wildlife. His home landscape is no longer lonely!
Children and parents alike will be inspired by this story to create homes for butterflies, hummingbirds, turtles, frogs and other wildlife, using native wildflowers and shrubs that provide shelter and sustenance.


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“Read The Puddle Garden to your kids, but while you are reading, please hear its vital message yourself!”

Doug Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home

The Puddle Garden is created by

Jared Rosenbaum author of The Puddle Garden

Jared’s collaborator (and sister) is illustrator and designer Laura Rosenbaum. Laura is the owner and designer of Novel Swim. She is best known for her free-flowing line drawings that are at once witty, quirky, and charming. Check out more of her illustration on

Jared is a botanist, plant grower, and author hailing from the wilds of New Jersey. He is the co-owner of Wild Ridge Plants, a family business that grows native plants for home gardens and ecological restoration. His writings on plant ecology, lore and propagation can be found at


Planting a  Puddle Garden

The “Puddle Garden” is a special type of flower garden that is designed to be both beautiful, and a home for wildlife. The most important ingredients in the puddle garden are native plants.

Native plants are wildflowers, shrubs, ferns, grasses and trees that have thrived in our region for many thousands of years. During that time, these plants have come to depend on native wildlife for pollination and seed dispersal, and many wildlife species have come to depend on native plants for food and shelter. Many butterfly species are dependent on just one or a few native plant species for food when they are caterpillars.

Our native plants are beautiful, charismatic species. Many were once so common that few people thought to deliberately plant them. Now they are disappearing from many places. People can help nature to thrive in built-up areas by creating habitats around their homes. Native plants are the building blocks of healthy, diverse habitats.

The plants in this book are all species that grow in wet places in the wild. The “Puddle Garden” is a rain garden,  and can be planted in a place where water naturally pools and doesn’t drain. Areas for rain gardens can also be created, by directing rainwater from storm gutters to pools that are dug to contain runoff. Dug areas can retain water, but need some capacity for drainage. The idea is for the garden to infiltrate water slowly into the ground rather than having it escape as runoff. Any lawn grasses or other non-native vegetation in the rain garden should be removed before planting.

The best place to find native plants is at your local native plant nursery. Looks for plants that are “nursery propagated” (not wild collected), from seed that is local to your area. Many states have good native plant societies and these are excellent resources in finding nurseries, choosing species appropriate to your region, and constructing rain gardens or other specialized habitats.

Download our brochure for a list of additional showy native plants from the Northeast that support birds, butterflies, and other wildlife and do well in a wet landscape. You can use them to supplement the “Puddle Garden” plant palate when creating your own garden.

Our native plant nursery, Wild Ridge Plants, stocks many of the wildflowers, shrubs, and ferns in The Puddle Garden as well as some of the additional species above.

Puddle Garden native plant poster

The original poster for The Puddle Garden. Get one in our shop!