Blog

Shady yard with dry creek bed and plants

Native Plants That Grow in Maple Shade

Maple trees can be wonderful denizens of the urban landscape, growing quickly to provide shade in the summer and glorious colors in the fall. But many home gardeners are challenged by what to plant underneath their maple tree. Horticulturist and native plant enthusiast David Pierson, of Pierson Garden and Landscape, provides some ideas below. Planting…  Read More

Snag (dead tree) overlooking view

Snags: The Life-Affirming Role of Dead Trees

Environmental educator Nick Voss ponders snags and life. (Photo: Nick Voss) As winter becomes a not-so-distant memory, gardeners, greenhouses, and landscapers are thrilled to return to a celebration of life. But before we join the chorus, there’s the in-between gloomy zone of spring. Some may wait and suffer through it, but I invite you to…  Read More

plum blossoms on tree

Trees and Shrubs in a Pollinator-Friendly Yard

Insects are among nature’s more industrious workers, ensuring generations of bountiful and useful plants. We can help them do their work by creating a more pollinator-friendly yard. And when we do so, trees and shrubs have a strong role to play. There are already many other benefits of trees. They serve as a carbon sink,…  Read More

American Goldfinch on thistle

American Goldfinch: Joy on Thistles and Quilts

The following essay is by environmental educator Nick Voss, Education & Outreach Coordinator at the Vadnais Lake Area Water Management Organization. Photo by Nick Voss. The American Goldfinch is a common neighborhood bird, familiar to many as a cheery visitor who’s happy to munch on an offering of birdseed. When paying a visit, they often…  Read More

Evolution of a Yard: Conventional Turf to All Native Plants

For Dana Boyle, a Twin Cities metro resident, a Lawns to Legumes grant was part of a yard transformation which had been percolating over several years, and which she writes about below. We visited Dana and asked her some questions about her project. In the following video links, she talks about how she converted her…  Read More

Pursuing the Cosmos with Youth and Owls

The following essay is a personal reflection by environmental educator Nick Voss. Voss is the Education & Outreach Coordinator at the Vadnais Lake Area Water Management Organization Photo of Fort Snelling State Park. This is a story of a day camp at Fort Snelling State Park, but it’s also a story of the cosmos, and of…  Read More

Mobilizing Minnesotans to Protect Pollinators

In 2020 many Minnesotans enthusiastically rose to the challenge of protecting pollinators in their yards through Lawns to Legumes, a state Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) program to empower people towards a more sustainable and pollinator-friendly Minnesota. Blue Thumb was selected to help put the program into action. A major goal of  L2L…  Read More

A Pollinator Project That Soaks in Rainwater

A Lawns to Legume Story Another participant project from Lawns to Legumes, a Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources program supporting residents to create pollinator habitat in their yards through cost-share grants and other resources. I had the good fortune to move next door to a landscape architect. Though retired, she was willing to…  Read More

Creating My Pollinator Garden

A Lawns to Legumes Story A recipient of a state Lawns to Legumes cost-share grant shares how she came to plant her pollinator garden. Lawns to Legumes, a program through the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, supports residents to create pollinator habitat in their yards. I grew up on a small Minnesota farm…  Read More

Cities support more native biodiversity than previously thought

Science Daily The rapid conversion of natural lands to cement-dominated urban centers is causing great losses in biodiversity. Yet, according to a new study involving 147 cities worldwide, surprisingly high numbers of plant and animal species persist and even flourish in urban environments — to the tune of hundreds of bird species and thousands of…  Read More