Queen Anne's Lace

History of the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden

Winter 1920/1921 and Spring 1921

Eloise Butler and Clara Leavitt
Eloise (on the left) with Clara Leavitt (former fellow teacher). Photo courtesy Minneapolis Public Library, Minneapolis Collection M2632H

This winter Eloise Butler traveled to the East Coast to visit her relatives, as had been her custom since she retired from teaching in 1911. Her residence was at 20 Murray Hill Rd, Malden, Mass. While there she frequently sourced some plants from east coast nurseries. This year plants came from Kelsey’s Nursery in Boxford MA.

In late March she returned to her rented quarters at the residence of John and Susan Babcock at 227 Xerxes Ave. from where she could walk to the Garden. She is quoted twice this season in the newspapers.

Eloise Butler’s first Garden Log note of the season was on 21 March when she wrote:

Trillium nivale in bud.” [Snow Trillium]

Her first planting was on April 11 with a clump of Pasque Flower, violets and a few others. Pasque Flower planting was an almost annual occurrence in April. On the 21st she discovered 2 specimens of yellow stemmed Cornus stolonifera (now Cornus sericea ssp. sericea) the Red Osier Dogwood. They must have been very nice because the Park Board Nursery, located right across the road at Glenwood Lake, was growing them. She promptly brought in six on April 26 and nine cuttings on May 1.

On May 6 she discovered Zizia cordata (now Zizia aptera), Meadow Zizia in blossom on the west hillside. It is a native species; later in 1923 she planted more.

What she called the “long-eared owl” [Asio otus] was also noted in her log (and previously in 1914).

Summer 1921

In the summer months she obtained 6 new species for the Garden: Crow-berry, Devil’s Club, Marsh Cudweed, Queen Anne’s Lace, Silvery Cinquefoil, Squash berry. Details on all 1921 new plantings are listed below beneath the autumn section.

Creeping Yellowcress, Radicula sylvestris (Rorippa sylvestris)(photo below) was discovered in bloom on June 21 northeast of the dam. The ‘dam’ was a small structure she had installed when the Garden was first formed, first of earth and then with concrete in 1917. It crossed the water channel that drained the southern wetland and formed a small pool for aquatics. The water then trickled down into the meadow on the north end of the Garden - an area that is now outside of the Garden's north fence.

A newspaper article about the Garden was published during the summer on August 28. Eloise is pictured in her typical garden uniform with her peace officers badge. There as a larger photo of a section of the Garden showing three warning signs. Eloise had a fondness for signs that provided information but also warnings of the "do not" type. One such sign said "Keep to the footpaths. Do not leave them without official guide." One such newspaper reporter who did just that was reprimanded on a later visit. You can read the write-up on that, written years later, here (pdf). Later reports would be critical of this as she was said to have around a dozen such warning signs. This article itself concentrated on the mosquitoes and on some special plants that were unfamiliar to the writer but carefully explained by Eloise on their tour. [Minneapolis Star Tribune, August 28, 1921 (pdf)]

Autumn 1921

Creeping Yellowcress
Creeping Yellowcress, Rorippa sylvestri discovered by Eloise Butler on June 21 near the dam. Photo Robert H. Mohlenbrock, USDA-NRCS Plants Database.

ON August 23 Eloise noted that the Lythrum salicaria (Purple Loosestrife) was ‘escaped’ - to where she did not note. She had first noted it in garden in 1916 and in 1920 wrote that it “has well established itself farther down the brook below dam.” She was beginning to realize that this species was going to be invasive.

On September 1st, she noted discovering Acalypha virginica, Three-seeded Mercury, in east meadow. This is not a Minnesota plant, but could have been the Minnesota species Acalypha rhomboide - Common Three-seed Mercury

On September 9 she noted several specimens of Quercus bicolor (Swamp White Oak) hitherto supposed to be Q. Alba (White Oak). She had previously planted Swamp White Oak in 1917, so these plants were not new to the Garden, but were therefor indigenous, having missed her original census.

In the Fall months she obtained 7 new species for the Garden, all detailed below: Aster Dumosus, Lindley’s Aster, Northern Woodland Violet, Selkirk's Violet, Sweet Black-eyed Susan, Thin-leaf Sunflower, Turquoise Berry-vine, and also Zig-Zag Goldenrod, which is indigenous, but this is the first time she planted it.

During the year she also recorded planting a number of other species previously in the Garden, most from local sources.

An article published in the Minneapolis Tribune on September 18 titled "Glenwood Park Wants Wire Fence to Keep out Spooners" was the first public appeal by Eloise for a fence to protect her collection of plants. "The spooners" she said "just set themselves down and flatten out flowers and shrubs and growths - some of which it has taken years of experimenting to bring to that stage of development." Eloise made no headway on getting a fence until she did it herself in 1924 after more fruitless appeals. (pdf of article) She had made an appeal for a fence as early as 1912, to the Park Board in her annual report.

The September 18 article has several other interesting bits. After getting a tour of some lesser known plants such as the Purple Pitcher Plant, they then come to the bird bath that was created in 1917. While waiting for a bird to demonstrate, which none did, she told the story of finding a hobo washing his socks in it. More detail on that in the bird bath article. The reporter mentions how well known the Garden is nation-wide among botanists and Eloise tells him of her visit to Dr. George Hay's garden in New Brunswick, a garden in the same vein as hers, but earlier, smaller, and in Canada. Details of Dr. Hay's garden here.

Eloise noted in September that there were an unusual number of large puffball mushrooms this season. Her last entry in the log was on November 1st when she noted planting Stiff Goldenrod, Solidago rigida, and Sky Blue Aster, Aster azureus, the same species she had planted in the Fall of 1920.

When the Garden closed and the office was locked up she departed for the East Coast to visit her sister Cora Pease as she has done every winter since 1911.

Weather: 1921 was the warmest year since 1878. The winter of 1920/21 was very scant with snow, only 20 inches, 23 inches below average. The next winter of 1921/22 would be average. Total precipitation in 1921 was below average.

New 1921 Plants

Eloise brought into the Garden a number of plants that are not listed today on the Garden census. Many of these were native to Minnesota and a few were not. Here is a listing of most of those plants introduced this year to the Garden for the first time - the common and botanical names listed first are names she used followed by other common names for the same plant and the newer botanical classifications, if any; then follows her source for the material. 1921 is the first year the following list of plants occur in her log. "Native" indicates the plant is considered native to Minnesota (here at European Settlement time) or if introduced, long established. "Non-native" indicates it is not known to exist in Minnesota in the wild. "Introduced" means not native to North America. "Extant" indicates the plant is present in the Garden today. Botanical classification: Over the years Botanists have reclassified many plants from the classifications in use at the time Eloise Butler wrote her Garden Log or when Martha Crone prepared her census. I have retained the nomenclature that Eloise Butler or Martha Crone used and then provided the more current classification as used by the major listings in use today, particularly Flora of North America and the University of Minnesota's Checklist of the Vascular Flora of Minnesota.

Spring 1921

Summer 1921

Selkirk's violet
Selkirk's Violet, Viola selkirkii. New autumn planting. Photo ©Emmett J Judziewicz, Wisconsin Flora.

Autumn 1921

The first two plants are problematical, she questioned the identification in her log. Her source was listed as Minnesota, but the exact area blanked out.

et Black-eyed Susan
Sweet Black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia subtomentosa. New autumn planting. Photo ©G D Bebeau
Queen Anne's Lace
Queen Anne's Lace, Daucus carota. New summer planting. Photo ©G D Bebeau
Silvery Cinquefoil
Silvery Cinquefoil, Potentilla argentea. New summer planting. Photo ©Kitty Kohout, Wisconsin Flora.
Wild Leek
Wild Leek, Allium tricoccum. New spring planting. Photo ©G D Bebeau

Photo top of page: Queen Anne's Lace, introduced to the Garden in 1923 by Eloise Butler. Photo ©G D Bebeau

To History of: Previous Year ----------- Subsequent Year

Year chart - all years

Garden History Archive

Printable PDF file of this page.

Links to related pages:
- Abbreviated Life of Eloise Butler

- Martha Crone - 2nd Garden Curator

- Ken Avery - 3rd Curator and Gardener

- Cary George - 4th Gardener

- Our Native Plant Reserve - Short document on the origins of the Garden.

- Eloise Butler's writings, a selection of essays written by Eloise Butler on the early Garden years.

- Geography of the Garden- an illustrated tour


Garden Log - Native Plant Reserve, Glenwood Park, Minneapolis, MN by Eloise Butler.

Martha Crone's Garden Log and her 1951 Census of plants in the Garden.

Various papers and correspondence of Eloise Butler in the collection of the Minnesota Historical Society.

Historical Climatology of Minneapolis-St. Paul Area by Charles Fisk.

Friends Home Page

©2017 Friends of the Wild Flower Garden, Inc. Photos as credited and are used with permission for educational purposes, for which The Friends thank them and the organization providing the photos. Text and research by Gary Bebeau. "https://www.friendsofthe wildflowergarden.org" 031222