A rain garden is a sunken planting area that channels rainwater and water from melting snow into a depression. Rain garden plants are selected for being native to Minnesota and for their ability to tolerate varying amounts of moisture in the soil. The best rain garden plants have long roots which filter the water before it reaches lakes and rivers.
According to the United States Geological Survey, rain gardens have a beneficial effect on water quality in the Twin Cities. They can also improve drainage from a property and attract butterflies, birds and beneficial insects.
The city of Maplewood is the metro area's rain garden capital, with over 450 residential rain gardens and 30 more on city land.
Where can you find out how to construct and plant a rain garden?
Metro Blooms is a Minneapolis-based non-profit organization dedicated to promoting gardening and beautifying our the Twin Cities. Metro Blooms offers rain garden workshops all summer long. The workshops have a fee to attend, but residents of Minneapolis and Hennepin county may be eligible for a grant covering up to $100 of native plants used in a rain garden.
Other organization like co-ops, Friends of the Mississippi River, the Ramsey-Washington Watershed District, and the Parks and Recreation department of many cities offer rain garden workshops and classes.