The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is hosting a summer-long celebration of water: Waterosity.
As summer begins, green living will make a splash at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska.
The Arboretum – with co-sponsorship from the Freshwater Society and Xcel Energy – will host a weekend “Splash Party” Saturday and Sunday, July 11 and 12, to celebrate the Arboretum’s summer exhibit “Waterosity: Go Green with a Splash.”
Did you know that some grasses need to be mowed only once a year and require less than a half the water consumed by conventional lawns? Would you like to learn how water pollution can be prevented by planting a green roof? And did you know that the United States has the largest per capita water consumption in the world, twice the world average, because of the goods we import?
You can explore those issues and more at the summer-long- June 6 to Oct.4 – Waterosity event. It fuses the visions of artists, horticulturalists and scientists to explore the connection of water to every aspect of life and to encourage citizens to make their homes more water-efficient.
Waterosity offers tools and solutions to combat the water related problems we face, and works of art that will inspire us to want to conserve water.
“We can show the best practices to homeowners so they can make changes,” said Jamie Spanks, the Arboretum’s grants and research officer.
The “Harvest Your Rain” demonstration area shows visitors how to conserve water at home through the use of rain gardens, rain barrels and green roofs.
The green roofs — roofs that use plants and a layer of soil instead of shingles and tar — were planted atop Arboretum picnic shelters and are designed to absorb and slowly use rain water that, otherwise, would run off the roof and carry pollutants to surface waters.
Once the plants on the roof take root, they require minimal upkeep and can withstand the cold Minnesota winters according to Spanks. Because the soil used on the green roofs is lighter than traditional topsoil, the roofs require little structural reinforcement.
Arboretum guests can visit the “Cutting Edge on Lawns” demonstration area to compare grasses that are alternatives to the Kentucky bluegrass most commonly used in lawns.
While some of the grasses are comparable to the Kentucky bluegrass in the amount of care they need others require minimal upkeep. The No Mow Mix grows so slowly that, on average, it needs only one mowing per year and it requires a half-inch or less of water per week.
Using the alternatives to Kentucky bluegrass could cut water used on lawns each year by 1,500 gallons per home.
Guests can also learn the benefits of drip irrigation systems, rain sensors and sprinkling system controllers to monitor watering. These devices can reduce water usage up to 50 percent and make watering more efficient.
Waterosity also features juried art installations in the exhibit that work with the models to demonstrate the pressing need to conserve water. The Global Spydrology display uses steel columns to make 3-D bar graphs of water consumption throughout the world. On each column is the name of a country and statistics on its yearly water consumption.
Daily water use for one person each day in the United States from internal water sources averages 1,158 gallons for home, industrial and agricultural needs. In comparison, Brazil uses 230 gallons of internal water per person each day, and India uses 423 gallons per person daily.
The “Go Green with a Splash Party” will provide information and solutions to gardening and water conservation problems, as well as art displays, theater and jazz performances and family-friendly activities. The event will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.
The weekend party will kick off at 11 a.m. Saturday with a class called “Money-Saving Solutions for Your Landscape Irrigation System.” The class, which has an admission fee of $20 for Arboretum members and residents of Chanhassen and $30 for others, will focus on coordinating soil, plants and the environment to ease water demands.
Winning entries from the Freshwater Society’s 2009 Water is Life high school art contest will be displayed at the event.
The Arboretum also is hosting hands-on art workshops from noon to 2 p.m. on both July 11 and 12, presented by the Minnetonka Center for the Arts; presentations at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. each day of “Are You Thirsty,” an exploration of water issues by the In the Heart of the Beast Mask and Puppet Theatre; and a jazz concert at noon on Saturday.
The summer-long Waterosity exhibit is sponsored by Freshwater Society, Xcel Energy, Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, Galleria, C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Aveda, Tennant, Toro, Great River Energy, Allied Waste, University of Minnesota Extension, Irrigation Consultants & Control, Minnesota Valley Electric, KARE 11 and Comcast.
For more information on the weekend event and directions to the Arboretum, go to www.arboretu.umn.edu.