Plant Sales, Cleanups, and Workshops: Mark Your Calendars for an Earth-Friendly Spring

Spring is here and a new growing season is just around the corner. Once again, we’ve put together a list of upcoming plant sales, neighborhood cleanup events, and yard care workshops in our watershed to help kick-start your Earth-friendly spring.

If we missed anything, let us know by reaching out to us at In the meantime, here are a few general tips to keep in mind as the snow begins to melt and the temperatures grow warmer:

  • Help protect overwintering pollinators by holding off on your garden cleanup until temperatures are consistently above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Adopt a stormdrain in your neighborhood. This will not only keep pollutants out of the Mississippi River but also reduce flooding by preventing stormdrains from clogging.
  • Don’t forget to take some time to get out and enjoy the sights and sounds of spring. We recommend a walk through the Mississippi River Gorge to check out the spring ephemerals.

Score Some Native Plants at These Upcoming Sales

A backyard filled with native plants and flowers.
Want a backyard filled with pollinator-friendly native plants like this? Spring is a great time to get them on sale.

Our yards can be a powerful force for preventing pollution, providing pollinator habitat, and even fighting climate change. And spring is the right time of year to start planning some earth-friendly changes to your yard.

Whether you want to install a raingarden, plant some native perennials, add a rainbarrel or plant a tree, this is a great time to snag some good deals. Mark your calendars for these upcoming plant sales, where you’ll be able to find a wide variety of native plants (as well as trees and vegetables) at a relatively low cost. Some offer online pre-sales, so check each link for details.

If you can’t attend a sale or would rather purchase directly from a retailer, you can check out our list of local native plant suppliers. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources also maintains its own statewide list, which is helpfully broken out by region.

As always, no matter where you shop, be sure to ask for plants that have been raised “without neonicotinoids.” These insecticides are harmful to bees and potentially other pollinators.

Sale Location Date
Big River Big Woods Native Plant Sale Online Order by May 1
Spark-Y Online Plant Pre-Sale Online Order by May 10
Friends School Plant Sale Minnesota State Fairgrounds May 12–14
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Plant Sale Farm at the Arb May 13–14
Anoka County Master Gardener Plant Sale Anoka County Fairgrounds May 16–17
Hennepin County Master Gardener Plant Sale Hopkins Pavilion May 20
Burnsville Native Plant Market Burnsville City Hall Parking Lot May 20
Ramsey County Master Gardeners Plant Sale Church of the Holy Childhood, St. Paul May 20
Washington County Master Gardeners Plant Sale & Garden Expo Washington County Fairgrounds May 20

Help Clean Up the Watershed

Volunteers from the St. Anthony Park neighborhood showing off trash they pulled from the Kasota Ponds at their annual cleanup event.
Volunteers from the St. Anthony Park neighborhood showing off trash they pulled from the Kasota Ponds at their annual cleanup event in early April.

Earth Day cleanups are back! Community cleanup events are planned at dozens of locations all over the Twin Cities Metro Area, including many right here in our watershed.

Columbia Heights Earth Day Cleanup — April 22

Once again, HeightsNEXT is hosting its annual Columbia Heights Earth Day Cleanup event on Saturday, April 22, starting at the Columbia Heights Public Library at 9 a.m.

Earth Day 5K Bee Fun Run/Walk and River Cleanup — April 22

The Great River Coalition’s seventh annual Earth Day run/walk and clean up event will be held at Boom Island Park from 9 a.m. to noon. Learn more and register on their website.

Fridley Environmental Fun Fair — April 22

Check out the City of Fridley’s free, fun and educational Earth Day event at Springbrook Nature Center on April 22, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Activities include an interactive trail hike, event passport with prizes, environmental education exhibits, crafts, games and more. Learn more.

Minneapolis Parks Earth Day Cleanups — April 22

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) is once again hosting its annual Earth Day cleanup events Saturday, April 22, at various parks located all around 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.

St. Anthony Village Earth Day Cleanups — April 22

Citizens for Sustainability and the St. Anthony Parks & Environmental Commission are partnering to host clean-up events from 10 a.m. – noon at several locations, including Silver Point Park, Central Park, Emerald Park, Salo Park, and Trillium Park.

St. Paul Citywide Spring Cleanup — April 22

St. Paul residents are invited to participate in citywide cleanup events at any of 23 different cleanup sites located around the city on Saturday, April 22, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., rain or shine!

St. Anthony Park Kasota Ponds Cleanup — April 29

Lend a hand cleaning up litter around Kasota Ponds. Located off Highway 280, these three water bodies are home to a variety of turtles, migratory waterfowl, fish, songbirds, mammals, invertebrates, and pollinator-friendly plants. Details and Registration

Attend a Blue Thumb Workshop

If you’re thinking about transforming your yard into something a little more eco-friendly but feeling unsure of where to start, Blue Thumb workshops can be a great way to kick-start your planning. They have two offerings this year:

  • Resilient Yards Workshops cover subjects like “redirecting runoff, putting in a raingarden, native planting, using trees and shrubs, turf alternatives, and more.”
  • Turf Alternatives Workshops focus on “alternatives to conventional turf lawns, including flowering lawns that support pollinators and options that require less water and mowing.”

Many workshops will be held virtually; others will be held in-person. Hop over to the Blue Thumb website to see the full list of workshop dates and times.

Add a Rainbarrel or Compost Bin

Rainbarrels are a great way to turn your stormwater runoff into a resource, and they're on sale right now.
Rainbarrels are a great way to turn runoff into a resource, and they’re on sale right now. (Photo: Clean Water MN)

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 at reduced costs. 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. Do a little research and figure out what kind of setup will work best for your yard.

Not sure how to install or use your rainbarrel? Check out our how-to video.

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