Rock the Prairie - Blank Park Zoo

Rock the Prairie

Rock the Prairie

West Des Moines, Iowa 50265

Registrant: Bob, Megan, Aiden and Cora Volp
Certified: 6/18/14
Type: Urban
Garden Size: Large (500-999 square feet)

Garden Detail

Host Plants:
Alcea "Hollyhock", Asters, Baptisia "False Indigo", Herbs - Dill, Fennel or Curly Parsley, Lupine, Milkweed "Butterfly Weed" "Swamp Milkweed", Native Grasses, Penstemon, Rudbeckia "Black-eyed Susan"

Nectar Plants:
Liatris "Blazing Star", Echinacea "Coneflower", Solidagao "Goldenrod", Eutrochium "Joe-pye Weed", Zinnia

We have two smaller 100 sq ft beds that contain Iowa Native plants in our yard. We also have hundreds of sq ft beds that contains both nectar and host plants in them.

Other Pollinator Friendly Practices:
I do not use insecticides, I use natural compost for fertilization, I have provided basking areas, I will provide over-wintering cover, I have added a nectar feeder or use over-ripe fruit to supplement feeding resources, shallow water/mud area, rocks to perch

What inspired you to create your garden?
I have always had a love for all things natural and feel it is important to incorporate native prairie plants into our landscape. Three years ago I created a 100 sq ft native prairie planting in the front corner of our lawn. I placed this specimen bed in the front corner to hopefully draw interest from the general public. Many people think they need huge beds to make a difference but this small 100 sq ft bed is bursting with life. Many times I have seen 10 or more of the Iowa State bird, the gold finch, perched and feeding on our Mexican hat sunflowers. Butterflies are fluttering in and out of our garden all day. My children love to explore the interesting insects that the bed attracts. By planting this bed I wanted to show case our native prairie plantings. Native prairie plants are beautiful,low maintenance and attract all kinds of wildlife.

On Earth Day this year, I helped organize an initiative called 'monarchs need milkweed' to educate the students at my children's school. Over lunch recess, I spoke with students about some of the issues that monarchs are facing in our current environment and the possible extinction of their migration. We also talked about how we can all make a difference by planting host and nectar plants in their own yards. Students then got the opportunity to plant milkweed seeds into a peat containers and bring home to plant. One small step...

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