Plant swap this Saturday

Now that plants are popping, take a good, hard look at your garden. Got too many hostas and not enough coneflowers? Come to the Greengirls plant swap to refresh your mix.

From 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, the Star Tribune’s garden bloggers will host a cash-free plant swap. Our marketplace will be the small park across from the Star Tribune building (425 Portland Av. S. in downtown Minneapolis). Here’s how it works: Bring whatever you have to share — divisions of plants from your garden, extra seedlings or seeds, containers, garden tools, books or other supplies. If you can strike a deal with a fellow green thumb, you’ve got a trade. We’ll also be handing out gardening calendars and door prizes (while supplies last), and will provide free parking. Of course, the Greengirls will be on hand to bemoan our late spring and answer gardening questions. So divide your overgrown plants, round up those extra seedlings and join us, rain or shine.

All transactions are between individuals. The Star Tribune makes no representations or warranties regarding trades of plants or garden supplies. The management assumes no responsibility for the loss or damage by fire, theft or any other cause to or by the vehicle while in custody of the management.

Rain barrels

Want to add a rain barrel to your landscape so you can harvest rainwater to use in your garden? The Friends of the Mississippi River is selling rain barrels as part of its “Above the Falls” program to celebrate and restore the Mississippi River in north and northeast Minneapolis. The barrels hold 55 gallons each and come with an easy-to-install retrofit kit, so they can be connected to a downspout without rerouting. Rain barrels are valued at $75 to $100 and are being sold for $40. You can order online at Pickup will be 9 to 11:30 a.m. June 21 at the Target parking lot in northeast Minneapolis, 1650 New Brighton Blvd. The rain barrels are expected to sell out, so order now.

Compost bins

Composting is a great way to turn food and yard waste into a nutrient-rich resource for your garden. To help you get started, Hennepin County is offering 3- by 3-foot compost bins, made of cedar and wire mesh, for $45 each. There are two ways to buy a bin. You can come to the Hennepin County drop-off facility in Brooklyn Park, 8100 Jefferson Hwy., during regular drop-off hours (10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays; and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays).

Or you can order a bin online at, then pick it up this Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Urban Farm Fair, Humboldt Avenue N. and Dowling Avenue N., Minneapolis, or 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Better Futures Minnesota, 6100 Olson Memorial Hwy., Golden Valley, or Saturday, June 7, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Better Futures Minnesota.

Green roofs

Interested in adding a roof covered with live vegetation to your home or weekend cabin? Green Roofs for Healthy Cities and the Minnesota Green Roofs Council will present everything you need to know at a symposium on June 19. The symposium will offer presentations on green roof technologies and design practices, the benefits of green roofs, including their capacity to manage stormwater and reduce energy use in buildings, examples of successful green roofs and policies to encourage investment in green roofs.

Advance registration is $99, $49 for students. Attendees will receive presentation materials, a USB key containing more than 350 technical papers and a copy of Living Architecture Monitor, plus a complimentary continental breakfast, lunch and reception. The symposium is June 19 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Anderson Center (Room 112) on the campus of Hamline University in St. Paul. To register, visit or call 1-416-971-4494.

If you’d like to see local examples of green roofs, the Minnesota Green Roofs Council is planning its first bike tour on Sunday, June 22. The guided tour will include visits to five green roofs that safeguard water quality in the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes and the Mississippi River. The tour will start at noon at the Garden Mausoleum at Lakewood Cemetery, and will end at 5 p.m. at the Minneapolis Central Library. A suggested donation of $15 supports the Minnesota Green Roofs Council and includes a tour T-shirt. To register, visit

Patio time

Now that the outdoor season is finally here, it’s time to spruce up your outdoor spaces. Bachman’s is offering a “Summer Entertaining Evening” from 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 28, with ideas on how to incorporate the latest outdoor-living trends into your home and garden. Four seminars will be offered at several times throughout the evening. Susie Bachman will demonstrate how to create “Show-stopping Containers,” plus edible gardening options to elevate your food and cocktail offerings. Lesli Rauch will show new tableware options and creative ways to set up patio furniture and outdoor room for ultimate visual and functional impact. Designer Diane Enge will share the latest trends for summer floral arrangements, and Doug Danielson will explain how to create “Wow Landscaping” using shrubs, perennials and other plants.

The cost is $10, which includes light bites, wine (for those 21 and older) and gourmet samples. The location is Bachman’s flagship store, 6010 Lyndale Av. S., Minneapolis. Register at