Friends of the Wild Flower Garden

front gate in snow

Now in our 65th year - Dedicated to Protecting, Preserving and Promoting
The interests of The Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary

Photo Identification Book of Garden Plants

graphic Spiral bound booklet, 8-1/2 x 5-1/2 inches, 142 pages, thumbnail photos of 437 species of flowering forbs, small shrubs and ferns of the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden. All plants are native or introduced to Minnesota. Additional 578 images and notes to aid in identification. Photos are approximately 1.5 inches by 2 inches.

In addition, 114 grasses, sedges, large shrubs and trees of the Garden are line listed without photos. Full index. Information about the Garden, the curators and about The Friends. $22 plus $3 shipping.

More Details and Order Information

Garden Plant of the Week

Water Hemlock

Water Hemlock
Cicuta maculata L.

The most poisonous plant in North America was indigenous to the Wildflower Garden. It has several alternate common names such as Spotted Cowbane, Children’s Bane, Beaver Poison, all referencing its danger. While no longer extant in the Garden, it was present for many years, included on Martha Crone’s 1951 census, and probably disappeared in the 1960s or ‘70s. You will find it in Hennepin County and most other counties of our State.

It is a striking plant, growing to 7 feet in height, with a large umbels of small white flowers branching from the top.

The green stem and leaves are poisonous and the roots are much more so, concentrating a poison known as 'cicutoxin'. Browsing cattle and sheep can easily pull a root from the soil when browsing new green growth. A single section of root can kill a cow, hence the old name of Cowbane. Children are quite susceptible to the poison and ingestion causes cramps, vomiting and convulsions within 60 minutes, usually results in death in a very short time. At a minimum there is damage to the central nervous system of adults. The roots has a pleasant aromatic taste, which hides the toxin, and can thus be mistaken from turnips or artichokes.


2017 Garden Projects Funded

1. New desk for the Shelter.
2. Transportation subsidy for 525 students to visit the Garden.
3. Year 3 of Invasive plant control funding committment fot the removal of sumac, wild raspberry, Reed Canary Grass and volunteer trees in the prairie area. More Details.

Sumac in the Upland

Garden Phenlogy

Winter 1995 - "A River Otter (Lutra canadensis) was again spotted this winter near the north gate. I believe this is a favorite area of his because the stream bed is spring fed and therefore open all winter. Usually no one is with me when I have these sightings, so I realize this could take on the dimension of some sort of furtive “Bigfoot” of the Garden. Confirmation by someone else would be desirable - especially a photographer, but the sightings always occur after the Garden has been closed for the season."

Summer 1996 - "The mystery of the river otter continues. This summer, a Garden visitor reported seeing it swimming and catching frogs in the bog pond. All of the sightings over the years have been by knowledgeable visitors or employees, but until we get a photograph it still remains in the "yah -- sure" category for most skeptics.”
Former Gardener Cary George

A Seasonal Poem

Here delicate snow-stars, out of the cloud,
Come floating downward in airy play,
Like spangles dropped from the glistening crowd
That whiten by night the Milky Way;
There broader and burlier masses fall;
The sullen water buries them all,—
Flake after flake,—
All drowned in the dark and silent lake.

And some, as on tender wings they glide
From their chilly birth-cloud, dim and gray,
Are joined in their fall, and, side by side,
Come clinging along their unsteady way;
As friend with friend, or husband with wife,
Makes hand in hand the passage of life;
Each mated flake
Soon sinks in the dark and silent lake.

Taken from "The Snow Shower" by
William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878)

Phase Two of the Garden Boardwalk

Garden BoardwalkThe Friends need your help! Phase One of the Garden's Boardwalk was dedicated in 2015 and has won three landscape architecture awards. Phase One only covered a portion of the wetland area that needs a firm boardwalk surface.

Your donation can help us continue the boardwalk further into the wetland.

All funds The Friends raise will go toward the construction of Phase Two of the Garden's Wetland Boardwalk. You can walk on the award-winning completed Phase I portion to see wetland plants and visualize where Phase II will complete this beautiful and functional walkway over the entire Wetland.

Please consider making a donation to this critical Garden project. Right now we have a matching grant so your donation will do double duty!

Details on the boardwalk, and how to donate at this link.