En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - January 08, 2013

From: Oakland, IA
Region: Midwest
Topic: Rain Gardens, Wildflowers
Title: School Rain Garden in Iowa
Answered by: Janice Kvale

QUESTION:

Could you recommend plants for a rain garden to be installed on a middle school campus in the Council Bluffs Iowa area???? Many thanks!

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants loves easy questions and this is one. There is a plethora of information on rain gardens in Iowa. Using your favorite search engine, type in rain gardens Iowa. Iowa has produced an entire detailed manual on how to create a rain garden. Find it at http://www.iowaagriculture.gov/press/pdfs/RGManualOct09green.pdf.  More information and a more extensive plant list are at the Iowa State University Extension. Your county extension office may be interested in your project and have more information for you. Some of the plants suggested in these documents are pictured below. They are all native to Iowa and are designed to have something blossoming from February to October. Click on the scientific name under each photo to learn why each may be valuable for your site and the wild life, such as birds and butterflies, that each attracts. Be sure to check on light requirements, whether sun, part shade, or shade and choose accordingly. Use our Combination Search to find other suitable options for Ohio.

Mr. Smarty Plants recommends using plants native to your area for the reasons listed here. He envisions a curriculum for students that includes why one uses native plants, why rain gardens are beneficial, and hands on experience in building and planting the garden. Some suppliers for native plants near you are listed here.

Congratulations on such a great educational and ecological project.

 

From the Image Gallery


Virginia bluebells
Mertensia virginica

Yellow marsh marigold
Caltha palustris

Ontario aster
Symphyotrichum ontarionis

Butterflyweed
Asclepias tuberosa

Queen of the prairie
Filipendula rubra

Mississippi penstemon
Penstemon digitalis

Swamp milkweed
Asclepias incarnata

Old man's whiskers
Geum triflorum

Eastern red columbine
Aquilegia canadensis

Culver's root
Veronicastrum virginicum

Little bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium

Bottlebrush sedge
Carex hystericina

More Rain Gardens Questions

Rain garden Plants for Colorado
April 22, 2010 - Can you recommend native plants for a rain garden in Colorado Springs
view the full question and answer

Managing a wet area in Austin
November 18, 2013 - I suspect that my backyard lies at the very top of a creek watershed. However, all of the water flowing through it gets blocked by a solid stone wall. Whenever we get a significant rain event, part ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for area with occasional standing water in Illinois
June 25, 2010 - ..similar to the question posed by the Aurora, Illinois bioswale on 11/30/2009 - I am an architect who designed the reconstruction of a historic structure in Pana, Illinois and have an area that is ap...
view the full question and answer

Installation of a bioswale in Decatur IL
July 22, 2009 - I want to install a bioswale in a 15' wide, 50' long ditch on a relatively steep hill. The ditch already has rip rap in it. Do I need to remove all the rip rap before starting construction, or can...
view the full question and answer

Rain Garden plant for N. Mississippi
March 03, 2010 - Rain Garden Plants for North Mississippi/Mid-South Region. I wish the search parameters included plants which tolerate seasonal flooding and droughts, so that each state might search for its own r...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center