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Low-Cost and Accessible Gardening Resources

Do you know there are many resources available for free or at low cost? Some of them may be right in your neighborhood. Have a look below to find out where you can get trees, compost, mulch, and seeds — and to learn more about gardening. We’ll also add upcoming events occasionally.

Graphic 3 people working together

Equitable Engagement Resources

Whether you are looking to hire an organization to support equitable engagement or you are seeking resources to begin or expand this work on your own, here are some resources and organizations we are learning from and want to share.

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Small Business Resources

The list below offers many helpful resources for entrepreneurs and people with small businesses at any stage, offering information on financing, coaching, planning, and more.

person planting plant and earth in background

Learning and Job Resources

The green economy is growing, providing well-paying jobs and education opportunities to people interested in beautifying and protecting the environment. Below you’ll find a variety of career and learning resources, many of them for youth and young adults, to help you get started researching opportunities.

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Grant Resources

Over the years Metro Blooms has benefited from numerous public and private grants. Our knowledge is not comprehensive, but we’re happy to share what we know with others doing community work. In particular we’ve had success with local government grants for clean water and pollinator habitat projects that include community engagement and management.

Renter Resources

The list below offers many helpful sources of information for renters.

Jordan Area Community Council Garden

We worked with the Jordan Area Community Council (JACC) and Rusty and the Crew to add pollinator-friendly plantings in the JACC community garden in North Minneapolis. In spring 2022, volunteers…  Read More

bee in plant stem

Help Tuck Pollinators into Bed for the Winter

“Leaving the leaves” is how we can help pollinators get ready for cold weather. Last autumn, Jessica Miller took some of her neighbors’ raked-up leaves and spread them out in her yard. She put layers in her garden beds and small piles around her trees and shrubs. In a society that prizes the pristine lawn…


Join us for our Fall Community Coffee Chat Get to know Metro Blooms! Learn about our work toward ecological health and environmental justice, and how to put your garden to bed for winter. Wednesday, Oct. 11, 8:30–9 AM, on Zoom Register here

rusty patched bumble bee on plant

Why Do We Care About Pollinators?

Pollinators play an essential role in Minnesota’s ecosystems. They help plants reproduce; healthy plant populations provide food and habitat to other wildlife and help to clean air and water. Pollinators sustain a healthy, diverse, functioning ecosystem. Without biodiversity, our ecosystem would fail. This is happening today. Increased human activity, pollutants, homogenization of landscapes, and other…

orange flowers in field, building in back

Sponsor Spotlight: Minnesota Native Landscapes

From restoring native plant communities in a floodplain to managing vegetation at a solar farm to deploying goat herds for buckthorn removal, Minnesota Native Landscapes Corp. (MNL) takes on many large-scale projects as part of its mission to “Heal the Earth.” But this Otsego, MN-based ecological restoration business also supports individuals to take action in…

Rebecca Rice

Rebecca Rice Steps Back as Executive Director of Metro Blooms

  Rebecca Rice, the Metro Blooms President and Executive Director, has decided to step back to direct the organization’s Blue Thumb program effective May 9, 2022. Laura Scholl, formerly Associate Director and Director of Fund Development, assumes the role of President and Executive Director. “It is an exciting time at Metro Blooms as our organization…

Impact Climate Change in Your Yard With a Rain Garden

Climate change, the long-term change in the Earth’s temperature, is bringing massive and detrimental consequences. What are these consequences and how do they affect us? Have you noticed the increasingly extreme weather? Like heat waves or flooding rains? The vast majority of scientists agree that human activity is the primary cause of climate change, so…

Awards Recognizing Metro Blooms

2022 Environmental Initiative Award, Local Sustainability Impacts, for Brook Gardens: Clean Water + Livability, a multi-partner project engaging a rental community on co-creation of more resilient landscapes 2022 Environmental Excellence Award, Minnesota Erosion Control Association 2021 Summer Blossom Award, Grand Neighborhood Garden, City of Brooklyn Park, for our work engaging rental communities on co-creation of…

38th Street: More Nature at Hardshell Fitness

The more nature, the better, for Ben Swarts. A couple of years ago, when he moved his business, Hardshell Fitness, into a former gas station on 38th Street at Longfellow, Swarts “threw” some seeds down behind the building. Today that space is a beautiful wildflower garden. Now he looks at the gray expanse of paved…


We invite you to sponsor our work. You would be supporting more resilient landscapes that protect our natural bodies of water and our pollinators, and the people and communities working with us towards creating them. Depending on the sponsorship you choose, you would benefit from your brand presence on our Metro Blooms and Blue Thumb…

“Raingarden Refresh” for Neighborhood of Raingardens 2021

Last summer was the first time we did a Neighborhood of Raingardens program in one community with a major focus on maintenance. The Sheridan Neighborhood Association in Minneapolis wanted to provide previous participants with guidance on caring for their raingardens. So we offered a “raingarden refresh” program. During a one-and-a-half-hour visit, we checked a participant’s…

Jumping Worms: Be on the Lookout

  (Photo: Jumping Worm, Flickr, Alfredo Eloisa | CC BY-NC-SA) Jumping worms are relatively new to Minnesota, but they can quickly damage lawns, plants and soil.  They look very much like common earthworms, but they have a characteristic way of moving — they may appear to be jumping — when disturbed. They have been described…

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Schedule a Design + Build Consultation Steps to Plant for Pollinators Blue Thumb Design Templates Divide + Transplant Guide from UMN Extension Fall: A Great Time for Native Planting Blue Thumb Resilient Yards Workshops + Learning Series Sustainable Landcare Training Free + Low-Cost Gardening Resources Design + Build Services About Metro Blooms Equitable Engagement Blog…

Brooks Landing

Brooks Landing Apartments is an affordable housing complex for seniors comprising 110 units on almost two acres in Brooklyn Park. Since 2019, we have been working with residents on redesigning…  Read More

Brook Gardens

We’ve been working with the Brook Gardens community since 2019. Community members were co-creators in this project to create more resilient and livable outdoor spaces. Residents set priorities for the…  Read More

Our Roots, Our Work

Metro Blooms grew out of a volunteer-powered garden recognition program, the Minneapolis Garden Awards program, which was first established by the City of Minneapolis’ Committee on the Urban Environment (CUE). Between 1979 and 2016, hundreds of trained volunteer evaluators visited thousands of gardens, every year recognizing and celebrating excellence, and inspiring a proud culture of…

Landscape Redesign: Working With the Community

Inviting a community’s residents to be part of redesigning their landscape helps to create outdoor space more responsive to their needs and increases the likelihood of their stewardship of the space. Currently Metro Blooms is on this journey with tenants at Brook Gardens, a rental community in Brooklyn Park where we recently finished our first…

Neighborhood Projects

For over ten years, we have worked with neighborhoods, cities, and so many other partners to install accessible and functional projects with their residents.

Blue Thumb Education

Blue Thumb – Planting for Clean Water is a partnership of local government, landscape contractors, native plant nurseries and other entities committed to the promotion of native plantings, rain gardens, and shoreline plantings. Blue Thumb is managed by Metro Blooms and provides our education programs, including the ones listed below. Learn more about Blue Thumb…