Gear up for spring with native plant sales, workshops, cleanup events and more

Our yards can be a powerful force for preventing pollution, providing pollinator habitat and even fighting climate change. And spring is the perfect time of year to start planning some eco-friendly changes to your yard. Whether you want to install a raingarden, plant some native perennials, build a rainbarrel, or plant a tree, we’re here to help.

To kick-start your spring landscaping projects, we’ve put together a list of plant sales, workshops and volunteer opportunities in the Twin Cities metro area. Of course, there’s always a chance that we missed a few, so use the comments section to let us know of any others you don’t see here.

Native Plant Sales

Have you been wondering where to get a deal on native plants? Mark your calendars for these upcoming plant sales, where you’ll be able to find a wide variety of native plants (as well as vegetables) at a relatively low cost.

If you can’t attend a sale or would rather purchase directly from a retailer, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources maintains lists of native plant suppliers in the state. No matter where you shop, be sure to ask for plants that have been raised “without neonictides.” Plants with these chemicals actually hurt bees and potentially other pollinators.

Sale Date Location
Spark-Y Online Plant Pre-Sale Order by April 8 Online
Wild Ones Twin Cities Plant Sale Order by May 15 Online
University of St. Thomas Biology Plant Sale May 10 St. Paul
Friends School Plant Sale May 11-13 St. Paul
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Auxiliary Plant Sale May 12-13 Chaska
Anoka County Master Gardeners May 15-16 Anoka
Hennepin County Master Gardeners May 19 Bloomington
Burnsville Native Plant Market May 19 Burnsville
Ramsey County Master Gardeners May 19 Maplewood
2018 Landscape Revival: Native Plant Expo & Market June 2 Shoreview
2018 Landscape Revival: Native Plant Expo & Market June 9 Oakdale

Rainbarrels and Compost Bins

Rainbarrels capture stormwater runoff from rooftops and store it so that it can be reused for irrigating plants during dry spells. In addition to reducing the amount of potable water used for watering plants, rainbarrels also help add capacity to city stormsewer systems by capturing part of the “first flush” of a rain event.

Each spring, the Recycling Association of Minnesota partners with other nonprofits and local governments to offer high-quality, affordable rainbarrels and compost bins. The products can be ordered online and picked up at any of several events around the Twin Cities metro area.

If you forget or miss out on the sale, don’t worry. Most home improvement stores sell rainbarrels in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Raingarden and Landscaping Workshops

Metro Blooms is hosting workshops throughout the spring and summer. Their “Creating Your Resilient Yard” workshops cover subjects like raingarden installation, stormwater management, and tree, shrub, flower and turf alternative recommendations. Meanwhile, their “Installing Turf Alternatives” workshops focus on alternative ground covers that “minimize the need for irrigation and chemical inputs while maximizing ecological benefits.”

Some workshops are free; others require a fee for participation. Click on the links for event details.

Workshop Organizer Date and Time Location
Creating Your Resilient Yard Metro Blooms March 29 | 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. St. Louis Park
Creating Your Resilient Yard Metro Blooms April 4 | 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. Champlin
Installing Turf Alternatives Metro Blooms April 4 | 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. Minneapolis (Armatage)
Creating Your Resilient Yard Metro Blooms April 10 | 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Minneapolis (Longfellow)
Installing Turf Alternatives Metro Blooms April 12 | 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. St. Louis Park
Creating Your Resilient Yard Metro Blooms April 17 | 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Plymouth
Installing Turf Alternatives Metro Blooms April 17 | 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. Edina
Creating Your Resilient Yard Metro Blooms April 19 | 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Minneapolis (Nokomis)
Rainbarrel Workshop City of St. Anthony Village April 19 | 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. St. Anthony Village
Creating Your Resilient Yard Metro Blooms April 24 | 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Edina
Installing Turf Alternatives Metro Blooms April 24 | 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. Minneapolis (Longfellow)
Creating Your Resilient Yard Metro Blooms April 28 | 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Minneapolis (North)
Installing Turf Alternatives Metro Blooms May 3 | 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. Minneapolis (Nokomis)
Creating Your Resilient Yard Metro Blooms May 10 | 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Crystal
Creating Your Resilient Yard Metro Blooms May 15 | 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Brooklyn Center
Installing Turf Alternatives Metro Blooms May 19 | 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Minneapolis (North)
Creating Your Resilient Yard Metro Blooms May 23 | 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Minneapolis (Armatage)
Creating Your Resilient Yard Metro Blooms May 31 | 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Minneapolis (Audubon)
Installing Turf Alternatives Metro Blooms June 7 | 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. Minneapolis (Audubon)

Note: The MWMO is not directly affiliated with any of the workshops above. They are presented here for informational purposes only. Please direct any questions or comments to the event organizers.

Events and Volunteer Opportunities

Spring Cleanup Events

Columbia Heights

In Columbia Heights, HeightsNEXT and the Lions Club are hosting an Earth Day cleanup event on April 21 starting at John P. Murzyn Hall (across from Columbia Heights City Hall) from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. HeightsNEXT has set up a Facebook event page with details.

Minneapolis

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is once again hosting its annual Earth Day cleanup event on April 21 at sites located all over the city. The cleanups will run from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Participation is free and no registration is required. Exact locations will be posted on the MPRB website.

Also on April 21, MPRB, the Great River Coalition and the National Park Services are holding a 5K Bee Run/Walk/River Cleanup event starting at Boom Island Park at 9 a.m.

Surly Brewing will host its own separate Earth Day cleanup event in the Prospect Park neighborhood.

The St. Anthony Park Community Council will hold its annual Kasota Ponds cleanup event on April 14.

St. Anthony Village

Citizens for Sustainability is partnering with local organizations in St. Anthony Village to organize several Earth Day cleanups and other activities. Details are available on the Citizens for Sustainability website.

Arbor Day – April 27

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park will host Minneapolis’ annual Arbor Day celebration this year, with tree-themed activities and educational opportunities, music, food, beer and more. Details can be found on the MPRB website.

More Resources

If you need more landscaping ideas or want to learn more about how to manage stormwater at on your property, you can check out our Landscaping Ideas page, which is full of helpful links, videos and resources. Be sure to also check out our Spring Cleaning Tips for Protecting Clean Water and our lawn care guide.

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