Upland Garden in Spring

History of the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden
and The Friends of the Wild Flower Garden

Winter 1983/1984

Ken Avery
Gardener Ken Avery. Newspaper photo.

Ken Avery begins his 26th year as Gardener.

Note: All issues of the Friend’s newsletter, The Fringed Gentian™, were numbered out of sequence this year. The correct volume numbers are used in the text. The "as printed" numbers are shown at the bottom of this page.

The winter of 1983-84 began quietly with the ground freezing very late in the season, and it apparently was not to be as tough a winter on the plants as 1958-59 had been. However, the winter turned out to be the snowiest in official recorded history with 98.4 inches of snow. Ken Avery did remark however that “Nature was on a strange time schedule - everything was off from normal.” The Friends arranged for the reprinting of the Garden Guidebook, a run of 10,000 copies, the printing courtesy of Prudential Insurance Company. The Friends had received last fall an invitation from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts to prepare a display for the Institute’s first “Art in Bloom” show that was to take place in the early summer.

Spring 1984

Marie Demler
Retiring volunteer coordinator Marie Demler. Friends photo.

In the spring issue of The Fringed Gentian™ (Vol. 33, No. 2, July 1984), Friends President Caroline Price remarked on “the quiet wilderness atmosphere” of the Garden. She thanked Marie Demler and Natalie Adler for their work as volunteer coordinators as they were retiring from that position. Newsletter editor Betty Bridgman discussed the food value of cattails and other wild vegetables.

Ken Avery reported that the Garden was beginning to recover from the effects of Dutch Elm Disease and that during the winter a 100 year old tree had fallen on a new bench. Many plants were blooming early this spring even though 10 inches of snow blanketed the Garden on April 29th. Fortunately it was the final snowfall of the spring. Volunteers were requested to help remove brush in the Garden as Ken had no available Park help.

The Annual Membership Meeting of the Friends was held May 19th at the Martha Crone Shelter. Directors elected were: Natalie Adler, Cindy Berg, Betty Bridgman, Betty Bryan, Marie Demler, Emil Elftmann, Doris Larson, Catherine Ordner, Liz Pomeroy, Caroline Price, Patricia Thomesen.
Ex-officio member: Kenneth Avery. Martha Crone as honorary life member.
Leaving the board was, Lynn Deweese.

Shirley Schultz
New co-volunteer coordinator Shirley Schultz. Friends photo.

Student and Teacher Study Grants were awarded to 12 individuals, totaling $1,950 - six college grants at $200 each and five Agri-business center grants at $80 each, and one National Audubon Camp grant at $350. Names of the winners were pubished in the newsletter. The Friends had established two study grant programs in 1978: One would be to establish scholarships for a few high school students to pursue the natural sciences. The second was to make tuition grants for grade school teachers in the Minneapolis Public School system to take a Nature Study course or an Audubon camp in the summer.

At the Board meeting following the annual meeting, officers elected were: Patricia Thomesen, President; Cindy Berg, Vice President; Elizabeth (Betty) Bryan, Secretary; Natalie Alder, Treasurer.

The new volunteer coordinators were Shirley Schultz and Joyce Smeby, replacing Marie Demler. Catherine Ordner was chair of small grants. Betty Bridgman continued as editor of The Fringed Gentian™. The Friends had assets of $3,561. There were 54 names on the Shelter volunteer list this year.

The Yellow Lady’s-slipper (Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens) bloomed on meeting day.

Summer 1984

A volunteer party was held at the Martha Crone Shelter in June with 25 attending. Retiring Volunteer Coordinators Marie Demler and Natalie Adler were in charge. It was a good summer for the plants. Temperatures fluctuated little from the average range and there was ample precipitation with some major rainfalls each month, one of almost 3 inches in June, and one of 2 1/4 inches in July.

The summer of 1984 was the first season that the Garden was open till dusk. This occurred from June through August. The shelter had two “seasonal naturalists” from 5 pm to dusk on weekdays and from noon to 6 pm on Saturday and Sunday. These naturalists were Linda Buehring and Laurie Haugen. A rotating "third person" assisted them (Mike Volpe and Sarah Lokensgard). There was a favorable public response to the naturalists and to the additional open time and a few Garden tours were led by the naturalists.

Sometime during the summer an inventory was made of contents in the Shelter Building, which the Friends were responsible for insuring. The insured value was listed at $5,115. Some of the books were valuable enough that they were listed separately, such as Robert's Birds of Minnesota and the 4-volume set of the 1961 Birds and Trees of North America. Some of the interesting contents included a set of ceramic mushrooms and 36 Red Wing vases valued at $10 each. These were stoneware with brown glaze, unmarked. In the early 2000's a few of these were still found in the Shelter attic and we wondered what they were! (PDF of the list.)

Autumn 1984

Shelter Display
An historical exhibit inside the Martha Crone Shelter. Friends photo.

In September the Garden hours reverted to closing at 5 PM. The experiment in keeping the gate open until dusk during June through August, with naturalists available to help the public, was quite successful. This led to the future adoption of these later Garden hours. In The Fringed Gentian™ (Vol. 32 No. 4, Nov. 1984), editor Betty Bridgman reported that 54 volunteers were recognized for Shelter volunteer duty. Friends President Patricia Thomesen presented a recipe for making acorn meal from White Oak acorns which then yields Acorn Bread and apparently is tasty. There was a page devoted to creating your own wild flower garden.

Temperatures fluctuated more toward the end of the year and precipitation decreased with virtually none in November and very little snow in December leaving only a 2 inch snow depth going into 1985.

Photo top of page: The Upland Garden in early April. Photo G D Bebeau

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

Year chart - all years

Garden History Archive

Friends 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


Meeting Minutes and correspondence of Friends of the Wild Flower Garden.

Archive of the Friends Newsletter The Fringed Gentian™

Vol. 32, # 1, April 1984, Betty Bridgman, Editor [Mis-labeled as Vol. 34]

Vol. 32, # 2, July 1984, Betty Bridgman, Editor [Mis-labeled as Vol. 34]

Vol. 32, # 3, October, 1984, Betty Bridgman, Editor [Mis-labeled as Vol. 34]

Vol. 32, # 4, December, 1984, Betty Bridgman, Editor [Mis-labeled as Vol. 34]

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

Friends Home Page

©2019 Friends of the Wild Flower Garden, Inc. Photos are 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.friendsofthewildflowergarden.org" - 010821