Front Gate of Eloise Butler

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

Winter 1998/1999

This is the 13th year with Gardener Cary George in charge of the Garden.

Well Drilling
Drilling the new well at Great Medicine Spring, winter 1998-99

Note: The 1999 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.

During the winter of 1998-99 the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and The Friends contracted with Renner Well Drilling to drill a deep well for a hand pump at the site of the ancient Great Medicine Spring just outside fence of the Garden. Over recent years since the construction of Interstate 394, the flow of the old spring had gradually dropped to a trickle. In January 1999 the drilling reached an area at 135 feet depth that produced a large free flow of water such that a faucet needed to be installed. The expectation was that in the spring, visitors could once again enjoy free flowing spring water. (Unfortunately, the water flow was not to last. See Archive- History Great Medicine Spring)

Gloria Miller
Friends' President Gloria Miller.

Friends' President Gloria Miller reported that the Garden would open two weeks later than normal due to budget constraints at the Park Board.

Spring 1999

Spring Prairie burn
Spring Prairie Burn

A volunteer orientation was held on April 24th in the Martha Crone Shelter. Gardener Cary George conducted a burn of the Prairie Garden on April 26th. He was concerned about damage to the early season forbs as this was the latest date for a burn in 13 years, but the conditions were perfect and success outweighed any concerns. Cary George felt a burn every two years was necessary for the Prairie Garden (as opposed to recommended practice of 3 to 5 years) because the prairie builds up annually an enormous thatch and there are many exotics growing there which need more frequent control than a virgin prairie area does. The late date of the burn was due to wet conditions previously. There was ample rain in early April and a huge 12.5 inch snowfall in mid March.

Skunk Cabbage
Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus)

The Spring Issue of The Fringed Gentian™ contained Gloria Miller’s last letter as Friends President.

The Annual Membership Meeting of The Friends was held on May 15th at the Martha Crone Shelter. Directors elected were: Steve Benson, Harriet Betzold, Joy Davis, Mel Duoos, Ann Godfrey (new), Marguerite Harbison, George Jaquith (new), Lyle Johnson, Juanita Lussenhop, Lisa Locken, Gloria Miller, Steve & Sally Pundt, Shirley & Jack Schultz. Ex-officio - Cary George.

Elected to their offices at the Board of Directors meeting: Steve Pundt, President; Lyle Johnson, Vice President; Juanita Lussenhop, Secretary; George Jaquith, treasurer.

In Committees, Shirley Schultz and Harriet Betzold were Volunteer coordinators, Joy Davis, membership chair; Gloria Miller, Historian; Newsletter editor, Lisa Locken (beginning with the Fall issue, Barbara Milligan retired after the Winter, Spring and Summer issues); Liaison to the Park Board, Steve Pundt; and Marguerite Harbison was memorials chair.

Friends Vice President Jack Lynch had passed away on March 22nd. A poem he wrote, “On Purple Bees and Poppies” was reprinted in The Fringed Gentian™. You can read it on Poet’s Corner. Garden Naturalist Brian Walvatne wrote about Skunk Cabbage and their smell.

Summer 1999

Pump at Great Medicine Spring
The well head and pump at Great Medicine Spring as it was in 2008.

The new well at the Great Medicine Spring was flowing with a good stream of water.

Eleven new members joined the Friends since the first of the year. Naturalist Willow Rheult wrote in The Fringed Gentian™ on how simple and enjoyable it was to do “porch birding” from the front porch of the Martha Crone Shelter. A birthday cake was served at the Martha Crone Shelter on Sunday August 8th in honor of the birth date of Eloise Butler (actual date of birth was August 3).

In July long time Friends' member Betty Bridgman (1916-1999) passed away. Betty was a volunteer and she was editor of our newsletter The Fringed Gentian™ from March 1983 until July 1990. She served two terms on the Friends Board of Directors: 1961 until 1964; 1982 until 1990. In addition she was an author and well known local poet. You can read some of her poems that were published in our newsletter here.

Summer temperatures fluctuated in a moderate range above and below the averages and there was adequate rainfall with several heavy rains in July and August.

Autumn 1999

Cary George
Cary George

The Fall issue of The Fringed Gentian™ starts off with President Steve Pundt looking forward to the new millennium and remarking on the resurgence of interest in the use of native plants and grasses - exactly what the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden is intended to maintain and promote. Gardener Cary George contributes an article on "Native Grasses for the Home Landscape", describing the five main Prairie grasses at the Eloise Butler Garden: Bluestem, Cordgrass, Porcupine Grass, Switchgrass and Indiangrass. Friends member Cathie Baldwin writes about “Magic in the Wildflower Garden” giving us some old plant lore. Did you know that you can forecast the number of children you will have by blowing on a dandelion seed head? Both articles are found in the web site archive. A poem of the late Betty Bridgman was printed - “First Night of Frost”. You will find it in the Poets Corner. 14 new members have joined since Summer.

Marguerite Harbison
Marguerite Harbison

A volunteer appreciation luncheon was held on Nov. 13th at the American Legion Club in Golden Valley. Special honor was given to several volunteers who put in many hours at the Martha Crone Shelter - Betty Bryan, Sally Pundt, George Bridgman, Gloria Miller, Marguerite Harbison and Harriet Betzold. Marguerite and Harriet was co-chairs of this event. Marguerite was also Memorials Chair.

Lisa Locken
Lisa Locken, new editor or The Fringed Gentian™

1999 was the year that Lisa Locken became editor of The Fringed Gentian™, beginning with the Fall issue. Lisa was responsible for incorporating photographs into the the publication. She remained editor until her death in 2007.

Weather: The temperatures in late fall spiked well above average in November and December. Precipitation was poor from mid-September through the end of the year, leaving the plants to go into deep winter with inadequate soil moisture. The was a little snow in December but snow cover at year end was only about two inches.

Photo top of page: The Garden front gate built in 1991/92 with fencing completed in 1995. Photo ©G D Bebeau

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

Year chart - all years
Garden History Archive
Friends History Archive

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 The Friends of the Wild Flower Garden.

Archive of the Friends Newsletter The Fringed Gentian™
Vol. 48, # 1 Winter 2000, Lisa Locken, Editor
Vol. 47, # 3, Fall 1999, Lisa Locken, Editor [Mislabeled as Vol.50 No. 3]
Vol. 47, # 2, Summer 1999, Barbara Milligan, Editor [Mislabeled as Vol.50 No. 2]
Vol. 47, # 1, Spring 1999, Barbara Milligan, Editor [Mislabeled as Vol.50 No. 1]
Vol. 46, # 3, Winter 1998-99, Barbara Milligan, Editor [Mislabeled as Vol.49 No. 3]

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

Friends Home Page

©2016 Friends of the Wild Flower Garden, Inc. All photos are the property of The Friends unless otherwise credited. Photos credited to others 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. "" - 051218