For over ten years, we have been teaching residents throughout Minnesota how to plan, design, install, and maintain their own resilient yard. We began in 2007 by talking about a relatively new idea—a little thing called a “raingarden.” Over time, we incorporated what we learned about pollinators and other wildlife, lawn care, trees and shrubs, healthy soils, sustainable landcare, and more into our educational programs.
We offer a suite of workshops that promote actions that home gardeners can easily take to make their yards more resilient and help the environment. In June 2019 we welcomed our 10,000th workshop participant! Every year we add new material. In 2020 we had more information about planting for pollinators as part of our Blue Thumb partnership with the Board of Water and Soil Resources Lawns to Legumes program offering support to Minnesotans to create pollinator habitat. For 2021 our workshops will cover resilient yards, bee lawns and planting for pollinators.
Our Resilient Yards Workshop provides a framework for understanding and creating resilience, covering site planning, raingardens, turf alternatives, trees, other plantings, pollinator habitat, and more.
Our Bee Lawns Workshop is a “how-to” guide on converting a traditional turfgrass lawn into a beautiful, flowering bee lawn that promotes pollinator health, water quality and natural resource conservation. The workshop provides step-by-step instructions.
Our Planting for Pollinators Workshop offers planting practices that benefit pollinators and the environment, including information on the status of pollinators in Minnesota and how you can help them by installing pocket plantings, trees and shrubs, bee lawns, pollinator meadows, and more. The content is based on the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources’ Lawns to Legumes program supporting residents to create more pollinator-friendly landscapes.
Sustainable Landcare Training
As with all other landscaping, raingardens and native plantings need care. We offer a Sustainable Landcare Training program to teach youths, young adults and landscape professionals how to properly care for raingardens, native plant gardens, and other vegetated best management practices in stormwater. The program covers stormwater basics, understanding site hydrology, stormwater BMP inspections, the value of native plants, phenology and other related topics. We also offer site-specific training for people who want to learn to maintain one particular site.
Supporting Sustainable Landcare Training
Blue Thumb—Planting for Clean Water
In 2015, Metro Blooms began coordinating the Blue Thumb—Planting for Clean Water program and partnership that promotes native plants, raingardens, shoreline stabilization projects and turf alternatives to reduce runoff and improve water quality. Blue Thumb has many partners in the Metro area, Southeast Minnesota, and beyond and includes watershed and conservation districts, cities, native plant nurseries, ecologically-minded landscape designers and installers. Members share knowledge and resources to help people get more native plants and other clean-water practices in the ground.
Lawns to Legumes
In 2019, the Minnesota Board of Soil and Water Resources began the Lawns to Legumes program with funding through the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund. Blue Thumb was selected as a partner to help individuals across the state learn about and install pollinator habitat.