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Lakescaping seminar: April 27 in Ottertail

A Lakescaping and Rain Garden Seminar will take place on Saturday, April 27 at 1 p.m. at Thumper Pond in Ottertail.

According to the event organizer, the Otter Tail County Coalition of Lake Associations (COLA), the seminar is a way to get energized and ready for spring while learning about native plants.

Open to the public and free of charge, the seminar is designed for anyone interested in learning about shrubs, plants and flowers native to this region. From beginners to master gardeners, city dwellers to waterfront property owners, this seminar is for anyone interested in erosion control, water quality and/or learning how to attract butterflies and birds to their backyard.

The seminar will last about two hours.

Guest speakers will dispel myths about native plants and unlock the secrets to a beautiful ‘water wise’ landscape.

Speaker Carrol Henderson, the co-author of “Lakescaping for Wildlife and Water Quality,” has a background in ecology, wildlife management and botany. Henderson joined the DNR in 1974; he is the unit supervisor for the Nongame Wildlife Program. He will unlock the secrets to creating a landscape that is beneficial for both wildlife and water quality.

Lynn Steiner, the author of “Landscaping with Native Plants of Minnesota,” is one of the best-known gardening writers in Minnesota; her photographs are a feast for the mind and the soul. She will dispel myths about native plants and provide information on native plants that would best fit certain residential landscape needs.

EOT SWCD offering financial incentives

A growing number of Otter Tail County residents are taking advantage of an incentive offered by the East Otter Tail Soil and Water Conservation District to protect and restore their shoreline and control runoff in a “green” way.

Attractive, low maintenance native plants are taking root across the county as lakeshore owners are discovering how well adapted, attractive and beneficial they are.

Residents of area lakes are leading an effort to transform their properties to control erosion and improve water quality.

With expert help and financial assistance from the East Otter Tail Soil and Water Conservation District, some are using perennial native plants and creating eco-friendly shoreland areas, while others are installing rain gardens to absorb, filter and clean rain water.

Natural shorelines

Many first-time lakeshore owners want their property to look like their property in the city, including a manicured lawn that stretches to the waterfront. However, homeowners are learning that they don’t have to sacrifice their view or water access when they use native plants to protect their shoreline from erosion.

Homeowners are also finding out that the less work they do “to the shore” is the less work they have to do “at the shore” and the time once spent caring for a manicured lawn becomes time for gardening, fishing, reading and relaxing.

Rain gardens

Ideally, a rain garden is planted with a variety of native plants that are adapted to specific site conditions. However, the main difference between a rain garden and a vegetable garden or flower bed is that a rain garden is bowl shaped while other planting beds are mounded or flat.