News

Summer Internship: Learning About Raingardens

One thing interns are sure to learn about at Metro Blooms is raingardens. This summer we hosted Althea Kuzniewski, an environmental studies major at the University of Minnesota. Althea came to us through the U’s Institute on the Environment, in an internship supported by Ecolab. She had the job of visiting and assessing raingardens we…

Happy Birthday, Riverside Plaza Raingarden!

Residents and other community members helped us plant this raingarden at Riverside Plaza on June 18, 2019. This video, by Yordanose Solomone, Metro Blooms Equitable Engagement Manager, celebrates the raingarden’s first birthday and features a song written for it by Riverside composer Ardo Muse and singer Abdihakiin Aden Farrah.* It may be the first raingarden…

Redesigning Outdoor Spaces With Residents at Rental Communities in Brooklyn Park

Major changes are coming to the outdoor spaces at two affordable housing communities in Brooklyn Park. Metro Blooms has been engaging with residents at Brooks Landing and nearby Brook Gardens to design landscape renovations starting in 2020. The projects will create greater resilience in the environment using raingardens and other green infrastructure, provide native habitat…  Read More

Raingarden Care: Growing Need for Sustainable Landcare Skills

More and more, people understand the value of a raingarden as a green solution to preventing runoff that leads to water pollution and downstream flooding. At Metro Blooms, we are delighted to see raingardens becoming more common. Unfortunately, we see many raingardens — including ones that we designed and installed — in need of some…  Read More

Equitable Engagement in Environmental Work

On June 18, dozens of community volunteers turned out to help Metro Blooms plant a raingarden at Riverside Plaza, a huge, high-density apartment complex in Minneapolis’ Cedar-Riverside neighborhood. They pulled on gardening gloves and received a short lesson on planting; within two hours, they had put in 477 plants, creating a beautiful green space that…  Read More

A Decade of Neighborhood of Raingardens

One of our longest-running programs, Neighborhood of Raingardens, turns 10 this year. Over the past decade, we’ve been installing raingardens in people’s yards, neighborhood by neighborhood, while teaching residents about landscaping practices that can help reduce stormwater runoff, a major cause of water pollution. Our goal is to help people make their property and community…  Read More

Conservation Corps MN & Iowa: a Raingarden Partner

When Metro Blooms is in the field, there’s a good chance that the crew on site are wearing yellow helmets. If so, they are likely a crew from Conservation Corps MN & Iowa, a longtime Metro Blooms partner. This organization has installed more of our raingardens than any other group we work with. In turn,…  Read More

Our Own Crew, and Teaching Sustainable Landcare

Metro Blooms is putting together our first crew! They’ll be among the first “students” in a training program we’ve been developing to teach sustainable landcare. We’re planning to teach the crew about environmentally responsible gardening and landscaping practices, including hands-on experience in installing and maintaining a variety of stormwater best management practices. So we’re expanding…  Read More

Measuring Runoff on a Permeable City Alley

How well does permeable pavement reduce runoff? Metro Blooms set out to answer this question in a privately-owned alley in Minneapolis’ Standish-Ericsson neighborhood. We compared how much rain flowed down the alley before and after the installation of a permeable pavement system designed to infiltrate stormwater. We’ve recently completed the study and are pleased to…  Read More

Autumn Ridge and Building Capacity

Metro Blooms is coordinating a major landscape renovation at an affordable housing complex in Brooklyn Park involving many partners, including residents, the owner, local government, a community organization and the watershed district.

Wrapping Up 2018 with a Great Big Thanks

Thank you, friends. Thank you for taking action this year to restore the ecological function of our yards and neighborhoods, whether you were attending our workshops, volunteering your time with us, engaging us to come and work in your yard or on the property where you live, or asking us to join with your organization…  Read More

Connecting to the Words “Grow. Bloom. Inspire!”

Board member Norman Greenberg talks about Metro Blooms: I was looking for an organization that would allow me to give back locally and also follow a longtime passion, gardening. The current board chair of Metro Blooms was an acquaintance and asked me to consider Metro Blooms. I looked at the website and felt an immediate…  Read More

A Couple That Serves Our Board Together

(photo: Garden nurtured by board members Randy and Bridget Rau) On the Community of Gardeners I have been working with plants and learning about plants for 25-plus years.  I love talking to and informing people about gardening practices and ideas and seeing positive influences for the environment.  Metro Blooms is just an extension of everything…  Read More

Why This Board Member Supports Metro Blooms

I developed a passion for ecology and restoration work in college. The first time I walked in an expanse of prairie changed how I saw the world around me. I learned how native landscapes are at the base of all life since they build soil, filter water and provide habitat for all critters. Since moving…  Read More

Gardening for Environmental Health

Board member Carol Kuechler’s story with Metro Blooms: In 2007, I first saw Metro Blooms’ work while touring two Minneapolis neighborhoods where raingardens and other stormwater management strategies prevented water from getting into basements. I was so intrigued by the beauty of the native plants like Joe-Pye weed in the raingardens and curious about practices…  Read More

On Faith, Community and Dirty Fingernails

How Board Chair Bob Wolk came on board: Rabbi Hillel the Elder once said, “If I am not for myself, who will be?  If I’m only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?” Hmm. So the water bill arrived one day, along with an invitation from Metro Blooms to nominate a garden for…  Read More

Jun Tang Maps Pollinator Sweet Spots

Jun Tang is committed to making the Twin Cities and beyond more habitable for some of our smallest denizens: pollinators. A regional planner for Metro Blooms, Tang has developed a comprehensive mapping system to achieve this goal. His system creates highly-detailed maps of pollinator habitat and then identifies “sweet spots” where the money spent to…  Read More

Your Soil Health Really Matters

Please call it soil, not dirt. The rock, clay, minerals and silt that make up dirt are largely devoid of the organic matter and living organisms in the complex ecosystem that is healthy soil. In our newest workshop on creating healthy soil, in partnership with the Minnesota State Horticultural Society, local soil experts share practical knowledge…  Read More

Metro Blooms and Social Enterprise at NEON

(Caption: The NEON Property Maintenance program invests in human capital. Sheltonn Johnson, manager of program) Sheltonn Johnson now sees plants that he used to walk by every day without ever noticing. He is familiar with different ways of preventing stormwater runoff and has hands-on experience in measuring and excavating a raingarden. These are some benefits…  Read More

Metro Blooms, St. Louis Park and the Rainwater Rewards Partnership

(Photo courtesy of the City of St. Louis Park) “I am a raingarden” signs have sprouted like wildflowers in some St. Louis Park neighborhoods this summer. They are located in raingardens installed under a new program intended to make the process easier and less costly for homeowners. The Rainwater Rewards Grant Program, a partnership between…  Read More

Lynnhurst Garden Tour: Raingardens, a Native Planting, a Bee Lawn

Three raingardens and a yard with native plantings were featured on a recent tour of a Metro Blooms project in Minneapolis’ Lynnhurst neighborhood. They were part of a program that makes environmentally-friendly landscaping and gardening strategies available to residents at a significant savings. It’s called Lynnhurst Yards and Gardens for Clean Water. The program is a…  Read More

Ragweed and Goldenrod: Weeds to Watch This Week

(Above, a Canada goldenrod invasion) We’ve been doing raingarden maintenance lately. This includes pulling a lot of ragweed and Canada goldenrod. Read on for more about these invasives. Ragweed, Ambrosia Recently I took a few minutes to watch the late evening news.  I was excited to see a segment on ragweed. This is the culprit behind…  Read More

Jennifer Moeller: Landscape Designer and Artist

Metro Blooms’ design team has become more artistic. When new member Jennifer Moeller is not out in the field working or in the office planning, she just might be drawing or painting. The aquarium mural in the lobby of the pediatric floor at a local hospital is her work, as are the animal murals in…  Read More

A Blooming Alley in St. Paul

Metro Blooms of Minneapolis has taken its work to make alleys greener across the river into St. Paul. Four raingardens, three areas of native plantings and a permeable pavement system are new features of the landscape in and near a Merriam Park alley that help prevent water pollution and provide more natural habitat. It’s part…  Read More

Metro Blooms at the One Water Summit

(Caption: Some people bring their best game faces to important events. Community Engagement Manager Kimberly Carpenter brought Metro Blooms’ best flower faces. Photo courtesy of Hennepin County Extension). Metro Blooms had 15 minutes of fame recently when its clean water work in the Harrison Neighborhood in Minneapolis was featured on a bus tour of innovative…  Read More

Weeds to Watch This Week

Weeds, a.k.a. Wild Urban Plants What is a weed?  Emerson said they are plants whose utility has yet to be found. From an ecological perspective, they are colonizers of disturbed soil.  Often annual, they produce impressive amounts of seed that float off to find bare soil, sites free from competing plants.  They are modifiers.  Weeds…  Read More

Metro Blooms: Seeking Environmental Justice in the Harrison Neighborhood

If Metro Blooms were a vehicle (green energy-powered, of course), the community would be the driver. The destination is always the same: clean water, habitat and a more beautiful environment. But it is a community’s residents, businesses and local institutions that decide how the journey is taken. As a non-profit that specializes in ecological landscaping,…  Read More