Metro Blooms’ mission is to promote and celebrate gardening, to beautify our communities and
help heal and protect our environment.
We are a private nonprofit volunteer-based educational organization which seeks to partner with
other organizations, businesses, professional associations, local governments and watershed
districts to promote environmentally sound gardening and landscaping practices to improve the
health of our land and water resources.
History of the Organization
Our original program, Blooming Boulevards, grew out of the Committee on Urban
Environment (CUE), established by the Minneapolis City Council in 1968. The private nonprofit
organization Friends of CUE was established and received its IRS 501(c)3 status in
1979. Blooming Boulevards' efforts to promote and recognize boulevard gardens began
in 1983 under the leadership of CUE member Nate Siegel. Mr. Siegel was so impressed
with the beautiful boulevard flower gardens on a visit to Vancouver, B.C., that he started
a similar program to beautify Minneapolis.
After city funds which supported the Blooming
Boulevards program were eliminated due to City of Minneapolis budget cuts in 2002, our
nonprofit status as Friends of CUE enabled us to get donations and grants to help carry on our
mission of promoting and celebrating Minneapolis gardens.
In 2003, the name of the program was changed to Minneapolis Blooms
to reflect the broader scope of our work, since all publicly visible Minneapolis
gardens were encouraged and recognized – those in front and side yards, back yards seen from
the alley, as well as boulevard gardens. To this day, nominated gardens are reviewed each year by
trained volunteer garden evaluators and are presented with a Minneapolis Garden Award.
In 2005, Minneapolis Blooms formed partnerships
with several watershed districts to take the lead in educating the gardening community to become
active stewards of our water resources. Minneapolis Blooms developed and conducted an
innovative series of Rain Garden Workshops in 2005 to inform, coach and offer on-site
consultations to Minneapolis residents to encourage the installation on their property of rain
gardens with native plants to keep rainwater on-site and prevent polluted water runoff, thus
protecting our water resources.
The goals of our rain garden workshops are 1) to protect our Upper
Mississippi Watershed by reducing rain water runoff; and 2) to educate and encourage homeowners
and businesses to install rain gardens with native plants, which thrive without pesticides or
fertilizer. We emphasize the importance of watershed-friendly and organic gardening to
improve the quality of life in our urban neighborhoods.
Public demand for our Rain Garden Education Program from many
communities throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan area has grown dramatically since its
inception in 2005. Waiting lists for our Rain Garden Workshops and attendance from residents
of many suburban cities attested to the need for more rain garden workshops, so in 2006
Minneapolis Blooms began implementing a three-year plan of sustainable growth. In 2007, we
began conducting rain garden workshops in several western suburbs of Minneapolis.
On December 5, 2007, Minneapolis Blooms officially changed its name
to Metro Blooms, when the Restated Articles of Incorporation for Friends of CUE (changing our
nonprofit corporation's name) was filed with the Minnesota Secretary of State. The name
change occurred to show our new commitment to eco-friendly gardening education for the
residents of not only Minneapolis, but the entire Twin Cities metropolitan area.
In 2008, with sixteen rain garden workshops taking place from
Minneapolis to Savage, and Maple Grove to North St. Paul, we hope to teach Twin Cities
area residents the value of installing a rain garden to preserve water quality, to
beautify our communities and to help heal and protect our environment.
Today Metro Blooms is proud to attest to the fact that more
than 2,500 people have attended our Rain Garden Workshops. A 2007 survey of all
participants to date showed that a remarkable 80% either installed, are
working on installing, or plan to install a rain garden. We know that more than
400 rain gardens have already been installed in the Twin Cities metropolitan area as of
September 2007, which points to the progress we are making in improving the water quality of
our cherished lakes, rivers and streams, while beautifying our communities at the same time.