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. It’s the perfect time to start planning some Earth-friendly changes to our yards. Whether you want to install a rain garden, plant some native perennials, add a rain barrel or plant a tree, you can snag some great deals in April and May.

Spring is also the time when our communities need help cleaning up all the trash that accumulated over the winter. With volunteer Earth Day cleanup events being held all over the Twin Cities metro area, all you need to do is show up and lend a helping hand for an hour or two.

Once again, we’ve put together a list of upcoming plant sales, neighborhood cleanup events, yard care workshops and other resources in our watershed to help kick-start your eco-friendly spring. If we missed anything, let us know by reaching out to us at

Score Some Native Plants at These Upcoming Sales 🌱

Buyers at a plant sale.
Customers at the Hennepin County Master Gardeners annual plant sale.

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.

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Plant Sale

πŸ“… May 10–11 @ 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
πŸ“ Farm at the Arb, 3210 W 82nd Street, Chanhassen, MN 55317 (map)

Description: β€œShop for plants selected by Minnesota Landscape Arboretum horticultural experts at this annual sale featuring a fabulous selection of annuals, perennials, fruits, vegetables, herbs, lilies, roses, hostas, Minnesota natives, trees and several varieties of U of M-introduced apple and fruit trees, grapes, azaleas and shrubs.”

Event Details >

Northern Lights Plant Sale

πŸ“… May 11 @ 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
πŸ“ Talmud Torah Building, 768 Hamline Ave S, St Paul, MN 55116 (map)

Description: β€œThe Northern Lights Plant Sale is a fundraiser for the St. Paul School of Northern Lights Parent and Family Group. One hundred percent of proceeds from our plant sale support PUBLIC education at Northern Lights, a K–8 public charter school.”

Event Details >

Friends School Plant Sale

πŸ“… May 10–12 @ Various Times
πŸ“ Minnesota State Fair Grandstand, 1300 Liggett St, Falcon Heights, MN 55108 (map)

Description: β€œEvery May since 1989, on Mothers Day weekend, our little school has put on what has become one of the biggest fundraising plant sales in the U.S. This three-day sale, almost entirely run by volunteers, offers more than 2,000 plant varieties at affordable prices. And every purchase helps support a great cause β€” the Friends School of Minnesota.”

Event Details >

Anoka County Master Gardener Plant Sale

πŸ“… May 14–15 @ Various Times
πŸ“ Anoka County Fairgrounds, 3200 St. Francis Blvd., Anoka, MN 55303 (map)

Description: β€œSelect from a wide variety of hundreds of reasonably priced plants including sun and shade perennials, native plants, ornamental grasses, herbs, vegetables, houseplants, pollinator magnates, annuals and more. Our extension Master Gardeners will be on hand to help answer questions and offer suggestions for finding the right plant for the right place.”

Event Details >

Big River Big Woods Native Plant Sale

πŸ“… June 8–9 | Order Online by May 15
πŸ“ Arden Hills, Near Mounds View High School

Description: β€œBig River Big Woods is now accepting your orders for native plants! Click the “Shop Online” button to place on online order using your credit card or PayPal account. We are not accepting checks as payment this year.”

Event Details >

Hennepin County Master Gardener Plant Sale

πŸ“… May 18 @ 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
πŸ“ Hopkins Pavilion, 11000 Excelsior Blvd, Hopkins, MN 55343 (map)

Description: β€œCome celebrate the beginning of a new gardening season! Over 22,000 plants, 25% MORE than Last Year. Shop indoors for quality plants, great selection, and great values. More than 625 plant varieties! Large assortment of pollinator-friendly plants.”

Event Details >

Burnsville Native Plant Market

πŸ“… May 18 @ 9 a.m. – Noon
πŸ“ Burnsville City Hall, 100 Civic Center Pkwy, Burnsville, MN 55337 (map)

Description: β€œThe City of Burnsville’s annual spring Native Plant Market encourages people to grow native plants in their yards. Burnsville and non-Burnsville residents are welcome to attend! Dakota Valley Recycling is also hosting a garden tool swap is alongside the plant market so bring your unneeded tools or garden supplies.”

Event Details >

Ramsey County Master Gardeners Plant Sale

πŸ“… May 18 @ 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
πŸ“ Aldrich Ice Arena, 1850 White Bear Ave, Maplewood, MN 55109 (map)

Description: β€œThe Ramsey County Master Gardeners Annual Plant Sale offers a vibrant array of perennials, annuals, herbs and vegetables grown by Master Gardener volunteers and select local wholesale growers.”

Event Details >

Washington County Master Gardeners Plant Sale & Garden Expo

πŸ“… May 18 @ 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
πŸ“ Washington County Fairgrounds, 12300 40th St N, Lake Elmo (map)

Description: β€œCome explore an abundance of sprouts and seedlings to add to gardens and planters this summer. Choose from hundreds of varieties of plants including annuals and perennials, native and prairie plants, monarch and pollinator favorites, grasses, shade loving plants, and vegetables including heirloom tomatoes and herbs.”

Event Details >

Attend a Blue Thumb Workshop 🏑

Metro Blooms staff demonstrating how to plant native perennials.
Metro Blooms staff teaching a volunteer how to plant native perennials.

Our yards can be a powerful force for preventing pollution, providing pollinator habitat, and even fighting climate change. If you’re looking to get started, Blue Thumb workshops are a great way to learn about how to create rain gardens, native plantings, pollinator lawns, and more.

Run by Metro Blooms, the Blue Thumb workshops have three offerings this year:

  • Resilient Yards: Learn how to create beautiful habitat for pollinators, protect clean water, and restore the ecology of your yard.
  • Turf Alternatives: Learn how to convert a conventional turfgrass lawn into a flowering pollinator lawn.
  • Resilient Shorelines: Geared for folks who live on or near shoreline, this workshop gives step-by-step guidance for installing a native planting project.

Learn more in this Blue Thumb blog post.

Add a Rain Barrel or Compost Bin β™»

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

Rain barrels 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, rain barrels also help add capacity to city stormsewer systems by capturing part of the β€œfirst flush” of a rain event.

Each spring, the Recycling Association of Minnesota partners with other nonprofits and local governments to offer high-quality, affordable rain barrels 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 rain barrels 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 rain barrel? Check out our blog post and how-to video.

Help Clean Up the Watershed 🧹

A Minnesota Water Steward weighs trash bags filled with waste collected during a community cleanup event.
A Minnesota Water Steward weighs trash bags filled with waste collected during a community cleanup event.

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.

Kasota Ponds Community Cleanup

πŸ“… Saturday, April 13, 2024 @ 10 a.m. (Rain Date: Sunday, April 28)
πŸ“ 2530 Kasota Ave, St Paul, MN 55108

Volunteers are needed for the annual cleanup of the Kasota Ponds in St. Paul! Join the St. Anthony Park Community Council in cleaning up trash from these small but habitat-rich wetlands. MWMO staff will also be on hand to answer questions about water quality.

Columbia Heights Earth Day Cleanup

πŸ“… Saturday, April 20, 2024 @ 9 a.m.
πŸ“ Columbia Heights Public Library

Once again, HeightsNEXT is hosting its annual Columbia Heights Earth Day Cleanup event, starting at the Columbia Heights Public Library at 9 a.m. All supplies will be provided, and free coffee and donuts will be available.

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

πŸ“… Saturday, April 20, 2024 @ 9 a.m.
πŸ“ Boom Island Park

The Great River Coalition’s ninth annual Earth Day run/walk and cleanup event will be held at Boom Island Park from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 20. Learn more and register on their website.

Minneapolis Parks Earth Day Cleanups

πŸ“… Saturday, April 20, 2024 @ 9:30 a.m.
πŸ“ Minneapolis, Multiple Locations

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is once again hosting its annual Earth Day cleanup events at more than 40 parks located around the city. The cleanups will run from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Participation is free and no registration is required. Learn more >

River Gorge Cleanup with Friends of the Mississippi River

πŸ“… Saturday, April 20, 2024 @ 9:30 a.m.
πŸ“ West River Parkway and 36th Street/44th Street, Minneapolis

Join Friends of the Mississippi River and the Longfellow Community Council for this Earth Day cleanup event in the Minneapolis River Gorge, part of the citywide cleanup efforts organized by MPRB. Learn more >

St. Paul Citywide Spring Cleanup

πŸ“… Saturday, April 20, 2024 @ 9 a.m.
πŸ“ St. Paul, Multiple Locations

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 20, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., rain or shine!

St. Anthony Village Earth Week Park Cleanups

πŸ“… Saturday, April 27, 2024 @ 10 a.m.
πŸ“ St. Anthony Village, Multiple Locations

Citizens for Sustainability and the City of St. Anthony Village are partnering to host clean-up events from 10 a.m. to noon on April 27 at several city parks.

Early Spring Dos and Don’ts

  • Don’t: Start your garden cleanup too early! Help protect overwintering pollinators by holding off on your garden cleanup until temperatures are consistently above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Do: Adopt a storm drain in your neighborhood. This will not only keep pollutants out of the Mississippi River but also reduce flooding by preventing storm drains from clogging.
  • Do: 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.

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