Straw-bale gardening

If you’ve heard about straw-bale gardening and want to give the method a try, here’s a chance to learn how. Joel Karsten, author of “Straw Bale Gardens,” will host a free education day at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds on April 25. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Karsten will coach and guide audiences through straw-bale garden setup, from start to finish. The presentation will be repeated hourly. Supplies and kits also will be available for purchase on-site, available through Otten Brothers. The event will be held in the fairgrounds’ north parking lot, off Snelling Avenue.

That same day, Gertens also will offer a free workshop on straw-bale gardening as an alternative to raised beds for growing vegetables. The workshop will be held at 1 p.m. Gertens is at 5500 Blaine Av., Inver Grove Heights.

Spring at the Arb

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum will be bustling with activity on April 25. From 10 a.m. to noon, visitors can stroll the Wildflower Garden and learn about its birds and blooms with naturalist Matt Schuth. The cost is $24 ($12 for members), which includes gate entrance fee. The stroll will begin in the Ordway parking lot. Register at or call 612-301-1210.

Also on April 25 is “All About Dogs Day” at the Arb. From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., pet owners and their pooches are invited to walk Three-Mile Drive and attend a Pet Expo in the Margot Picnic Shelter area. The cost is $25 ($20 for members) if you preregister, or $35 ($30 for members) for walk-ins. The price admits one dog and two humans, and $8 of every fee goes toward the Nature-Based Therapy program at the Arb. Registration includes a doggie goodie bag and professional pet portrait from Little Saints Photography. To preregister, visit

And finally, the Arb will host a Shallow Lakes Forum on April 25. Attendees will learn about the challenges and benefits of shallow lakes, and the role of plants in shallow-lake management. The forum will be held 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the MacMillan Auditorium, Oswald Visitor Center. The cost is $20 ($15 for members). Register at

Free lawn-care workshop

Want a better-looking lawn this summer? Now is the time to tackle crabgrass and dandelion prevention. Gertens is offering a free lawn-care workshop on several upcoming Saturdays. The workshop will cover seeding, fertilizing, and general maintenance for spring lawns, with plenty of time for your questions. The workshop will be held at 10 a.m. on April 25, May 2, 9, 16 and 23.

Also at Gertens on April 25 will be a free workshop on installing eco-friendly permeable pavers. These pavers allow infiltration of stormwater, to reduce chemical runoff into streams, rivers and lakes. However, they require different installation methods than traditional pavers; DIY-ers will learn proper techniques for success. The workshop will be held at 11 a.m.

Gertens is at 5500 Blaine Av., Inver Grove Heights.

Success with succulents

Easy-care succulents will be the focus of a workshop at Bachman’s. Participants will learn about distinctive succulents that can be started indoors and then moved outdoors in summer. The hands-on workshop will be led by a Bachman’s designer. The cost is $50, which includes all materials used in your take-home creation. The workshop will be held 2 to 4 p.m. April 25 in the Design Room at Bachman’s on Lyndale, 6010 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls.

Trees and shrubs

Thinking about adding some trees or shrubs to your landscape? Learn how to choose the best types for your site, and how to plant them properly at a Bachman’s how-to workshop, 5 to 7 p.m. on April 28. The cost is $10, which includes a coupon for $5 off any purchase of $25 or more. The workshop will be held in the Heritage Room at Bachman’s on Lyndale, 6010 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls. Visit for more details.

Kim Palmer