Summer may be waning, but there's still plenty of time to make good on any gardening plans.

Considering adding native plants to the garden? Or perhaps installing a rain garden, rain barrel or compost bin? Come find out how this Wednesday! Or on August 25th, spend a late-summer evening strolling though beautiful and innovative gardens, and learn about how they work and how to plan one for the home or office. Friends of the Mississippi River (FMR) is putting on both events.
Both workshops are free and it takes just an email to register. Come to one or both! Each also offers take-home resources, including materials from the local Blue Thumb program and information on local cost-share programs.

The workshop, "Native Plants, Rain Gardens and Lawn Care for Water Quality," is Wednesday, Aug. 17th, 6-8 p.m. at St. Paul's Wilder Center. Led by FMR's River Stewardship Coordinator Karen Solas, this brief workshop quickly covers the essential how to's of river-friendly gardening and landscaping, and emphasizes local resources. It's gotten rave reviews from participants, who by attending will receive a copy of "Blue Thumb Guide to Rain Gardens" (normally $18).

The rain garden tour is Thursday, Aug. 25th, 6-8 p.m. Although hosted by FMR, Capitol Region Watershed District and Metro Conservation Districts take the lead on this guided tour through the award-winning rain gardens of St. Paul’s "Garden District." In addition to improving water quality, these rain gardens are a neighborhood amenity.  They contribute beauty, wildlife habitat, and inspiration for water-friendly and river-friendly projects. It's a two-hour tour along two miles of paved trails.

Both the workshop and tour are sponsored by Capitol Region Watershed District and the City of Saint Paul.   They're free and open to all. However capacity is limited to maintain a quality experience, so FMR does require advance registration.

Want to sign up? Just contact FMR Program Assistant Erika Guenther at, with the following information: your name, the event you're interested in, contact information and the number in your party and, provided the event hasn't reached capacity, she'll email all the details and directions your way. (If you have earthlink or an active SPAM filter, please take a moment to add Erika's email to your address book to ensure receipt.)

Additional information on these and other FMR events, such as the September tour of the rare oak savanna in the Minneapolis River Gorge, is also available on their calendar.
They also have a nice webpage on landscaping for the river, but the workshop and tour are probably more fun. They are also more likely to provide motivation to help plan -- or finish -- any watershed-friendly gardening projects on the to do list.   


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