Earth Day is just around the corner, and so is the start of a new growing season. Once again, we’ve put together a list of plant sales, workshops, and volunteer opportunities in our watershed to help kick-start your spring festivities. Whether you’re an experienced gardener or someone who just wants to help, there’s something for everyone this spring.
Of course, there’s always a chance that we missed something, so feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you know of other events that could be added to the list.
Score Some Native Plants at These Plant Sales
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.
|Wild Ones Big River Big Woods 2022 Plant Sale||Online||Order by May 6|
|Spark-Y Online Plant Pre-Sale||Online||Order by May 11|
|Wild Ones Twin Cities Native Plant Sale||Online||Order by May 17|
|Friends School Plant Sale||St. Paul||May 6–8|
|Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Plant Sale||Chaska||May 7–8|
|Hennepin County Master Gardener Plant Sale||Hopkins||May 14|
|Anoka County Master Gardeners Plant Sale||Anoka||May 17–18|
|Burnsville Native Plant Market||Burnsville||May 21|
|Ramsey County Master Gardeners Plant Sale||St. Paul||May 21|
|Washington County Master Gardeners Plant Sale and Garden Expo||Stillwater||May 22|
|St. Paul Audubon Society Landscape Revival||Oakdale||June 4|
|St. Paul Audubon Society Landscape Revival||Shoreview||June 11|
Attend a Raingarden or Landscaping 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 three different offerings this year, all being held virtually:
- Resilient Yards Workshops cover subjects like “redirecting runoff, putting in a raingarden, native planting, using trees and shrubs, turf alternatives, and more.”
- Turf Alternatives (Pollinator Lawns) Workshops focus on “alternatives to conventional turf lawns, including flowering lawns that support pollinators and options that require less water and mowing.”
- Pollinator Plantings Workshops cover “how to make your yard a haven for bees, butterflies and other pollinators.”
Hop over to the Blue Thumb website to see the full list of workshop dates and times.
Help Clean Up the Watershed
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.
Below are the events we know about. Hennepin County residents might want to check out the county’s helpful map and list of Earth Day events and tips.
Columbia Heights Earth Day Cleanup — April 23
Once again, HeightsNEXT is hosting its annual Columbia Heights Earth Day Cleanup event on Saturday, April 23, starting at John P. Murzyn Hall (across from Columbia Heights City Hall) at 9 a.m.
Fridley Earth Week — April 29 – May 6
The City of Fridley is sponsoring a park cleanup event and a series of Earth-friendly activities. Check their special events page for details.
Minneapolis Earth Day Cleanups — April 23
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) is once again hosting its annual Earth Day cleanup events Saturday, April 23, 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 Cleanup Events — April 23
Citizens for Sustainability is hosting cleanup events at five city parks on Saturday, April 23, as part of its Earth Week Challenge. Check their website for details on times and locations.
St. Paul Citywide Spring Cleanup — April 23
St. Paul residents can participate in citywide cleanup events at any of 21 different cleanup sites located around the city on Saturday, April 23, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Volunteer to Help Remove Invasive Plants
April is National Volunteer Month, and Friends of the Mississippi River is offering some great opportunities to help remove invasive plants and restore habitat at parks all around the Twin Cities Metro Area. Check FMR’s events page for details.
Add a Rainbarrel or Compost Bin
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. 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.
Other Events to Add to Your Calendar
On Friday, April 29, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board will host its annual Arbor Day celebration in the city’s North Loop Neighborhood, with tree-themed activities and educational opportunities, music, food, beer and more. You can also help arborists from the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board plant trees along the freshly repaved North 3rd Street.