St. Louis Park resident Sharon Decker had no sooner earned her prestigious Master Gardener status from the University of Minnesota Extension program when she undertook the creation of a rain garden to prevent stormwater and pollutant runoff into the city's sewer and water system.
With the help of Metro Blooms for the garden design, Blue Thumb for the installation, and a grant from the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, Sharon put her mind and muscle into the bowl-shaped garden.
"At the Blue Thumb booth at the Hopkins Home Remodeling Fair, I learned that grants are available to anyone, regardless of their income, for the installation of a rain garden," says Sharon.
"They offer an amazing amount of financial help," says Jenn Morrow, of Blue Thumb, who worked side-by-side with Sharon on the installation.
Blue Thumb is a Minnesota-based partnership of more than 60 organizations, including Metro Blooms, that work cooperatively to "promote native plants, raingardens, and shoreline plantings to keep our water clean."
Says St. Louis Park resident and longtime Metro Blooms board member Susan Nelson, "More and more people are installing rain gardens for their environmental impact, and their beauty. Metro Blooms is here to offer workshops and guidance."
A list of upcoming workshops can be found on the Metro Blooms website, as well as a video on how to install a rain garden.
Sharon took a Metro Blooms workshop about three years ago, and now, as a Master Gardener, she is asked to assist at Metro Blooms workshops herself. She most recently answered gardening questions at the Browndale Neighborhood Plant Exchange in May.
Then she turned her attention to her own front yard.
According to the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, "Polluted stormwater is the number one water quality problem in Minnesota and across the country."
Sharon Decker is one resident who has made a drop in that bucket.