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Then and Now at Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden

Hepatica Hill - Sixty Years Apart

A lost beauty: In the photo below taken on April 17, 1955, we see an extensive grouping of Hepatica on the west Woodland Garden hillside, appropriately named "Hepatica Hill." Hepaticas were nurtured in the Garden by both Eloise Butler and Martha Crone. In the years after this photo was taken the tree canopy of the Woodland Garden was changed dramatically - especially with the onslaught of Dutch Elm Disease. Early spring ephemerals such as the Hepaticas, require sunlight during the early spring, but then depend on the shade of the unfolding tree canopy for summer protection. Most of this extensive grouping, and of other spring ephemerals, was lost. The Hepaticas are of two species: Sharp-lobed Hepatica Anemone acutiloba (DC) G.Lawson and Round-lobed Hepatica Anemone americana (DC) H.Hara - - the two hepatica species native to Minnesota.

Hepatica hill 1955

Below: Here is the same hillside on April 24, 2008. A little early that year for the plants to have bloom but the hillside is the same. The conifers in the background are larger, the path is now timber bordered and young trees are growing in the hillside. The area was extensively replanted in 2005 in an attempt to reconstruct the plant community. A certain number of new young trees have also been inserted to provide summer protection.

Hepatica hill 2008

Below: What a difference a day makes. This photo was taken on April 16, 1955, one day before the photo at the top. On a clear sunny day the entire hillside comes alive on an early spring day.

Hepatica Hill 1955

Photo Below: A section of Hepatica Hill in April 2016.

Hepatica Hill 2016

Garden Curator Susan Wilkins wrote about The Restoration of Hepatica Hill.