• Hannah Kamath

Resilient Yards, Flowering Bee Lawns and Planting for Pollinators

2021 Blue Thumb Workshops teach greener yard practices


Today more and more lawns include low-growing flowers like Dutch white clover, self-heal and violets. Often called “bee lawns,” they provide food for pollinators and generally don’t need the same care to stay healthy as more traditional lawns. Bee Lawns, Resilient Yards and Planting for Pollinators are the topics in this year’s Blue Thumb DIY workshops, where people can get ideas for strengthening their yard while protecting the environment.


The workshops are geared towards helping people create resilience in their yard, so they can better “weather” severe heat and heavy downpours. Choosing plants wisely and knowing where to put them can provide shade and help cool a yard. Raingardens and other plantings soak in rainwater that would otherwise flow into storm sewers that empty polluted water into our lakes and streams. A resilient yard is also full of life; planted with well-chosen native plants, it provides important habitat for pollinators and other wildlife.


“Even the smallest of plantings can play a pivotal role in conservation. We want to encourage people to think critically about how they use their landscape. Where do they play? How does water move through their yard? A strategically sited planting, no matter how small, can help improve local water quality, provide food for countless critters like bees and butterflies, and beautify our communities,” says bee lawn expert James Wolfin, an entomologist and the sustainable landcare manager for Metro Blooms, Blue Thumb’s non-profit parent.


In all, Blue Thumb offers three different workshops for 2021. Resilient Yards covers raingardens, alternatives to turf lawns, trees, native plantings and more. Bee Lawns is a “how-to” on converting a traditional lawn into a flowering bee lawn. Planting for Pollinators offers planting practices that benefit pollinators and the environment, with insights on pollinators in Minnesota.


Staff from Metro Blooms, Blue Thumb’s parent organization, lead the workshops, which start in March. Each workshop costs $15 unless otherwise noted. Scholarships are available on request. More information and registration details can be found at https://bluethumb.org/events/ or by leaving a message at 651-699-2426​. Presentations will be recorded for registrants who are not able to attend.


Blue Thumb 2021 Resilient Yards Workshops:


Resilient Yards Workshop

1.5 hours/3 hours

Join Metro Blooms experts for a virtual watch party on creating environmentally friendly yards. Learn how to make your yard greener using site planning, raingardens, flowering lawns, trees, native plantings and more. Some of these workshops include one-on-one conversations with Landscape Designers, Hennepin County Master Gardeners and Minnesota Water Stewards.


Bee Lawn Workshop

1.5 hours

Learn how to create a bee lawn! Bee expert and Metro Blooms landcare professional James Wolfin explains the steps for turning your turfgrass lawn into a beautiful, flowering bee lawn. Flowering bee lawns protect bees and butterflies, improve water quality, and create a healthier environment.


Planting for Pollinators Workshop

1.5 hours

This workshop includes information from the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources’ Lawns to Legumes program, which helps residents create pollinator-friendly landscapes in their yard. Learn about pollinator health, and how you can help bees and butterflies by installing pocket plantings, trees and shrubs, bee lawns, pollinator meadows, and more.


Register for a workshop here: https://bluethumb.org/events/


El taller de Jardines Resistentes (Resilient Yards) también estará disponible en español. Visita bluethumb.org/events para registrarte.



Blue Thumb – Planting for Clean Water, a network of public and private partners working towards planting for clean water and pollinators, is coordinated by Metro Blooms, a nonprofit committed to resilient communities through the promotion, design, installation, and care of sustainable landscapes. Workshops are supported by: the cities of Minneapolis, Plymouth, St. Louis Park, Minnetonka, Rochester, Mendota Heights, Champlin, Golden Valley; Hennepin County Master Gardeners; Minnesota Water Stewards; Rice Creek Watershed District; and the Washington County Conservation District.


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