Artist in the Garden

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

Winter 2007/2008

2008 begins the 102nd year for the Garden, it having been founded on April 15, 1907. It would also be the 56th year for the Friends and Susan Wilkins’ fifth year as Garden Curator.

A Friends’ Board Meeting was held on February 4, 2008, at the Lyndale Farmstead, 39th and Bryant Ave So. Susan Wilkins announced that a new comprehensive plan for the Park Board had now been released. From this guide, Susan would develop a comprehensive plan for the Garden. That plan was released in 2010 [document pdf]. Last fall the Friends had approved a donation of $4,250 for planting this spring. Susan was ordering plants.


In planning for invasive plant removal, Jim Proctor, Susan Wilkins, and others at the Park Board put together a management plan for the area immediately outside the Garden fence. 2008 was the 3rd year of activity for the invasive team and now that invasives were under Legacy Steward control in the Garden, the area outside was next. [Plan pdf].

A new logo for Garden publications incorporating the Showy Lady’s-slipper was introduced by Curator Susan Wilkins. The design was by professional illustrator Ken Jacobsen and was a slight modification of the logo that was introduced in 2007 for the Garden’s 100th Anniversary.

Ann Godfrey
Friends Volunteer Coordinator Ann Godfrey. Friends photo.

The winter issue of The Fringed Gentian™ [Vol. 56, No. 1] was the second and the last for interim editor Linda Cody. President Pam Weiner had recruited a new editor - Judy Remington. Linda was thanked for her work. President Weiner acknowledged all the hard work that had gone into the 2007 Garden Anniversary and looked forward to continued work by the Friends in the coming years. Susan Wilkins wrote about the Garden in “One Hundred Years of Vision and Counting.” Photos and details were printed, about the new screen door to the Shelter that the Friends had funded last year.

Board member Ann Godfrey was in charge of volunteers again this year. The ‘Volunteer Spotlight’ highlighted her in the winter Issue. Phoebe Waugh’s poem “A Years Color Wheel” was published. Master Gardened Kathy Urberg wrote about "Plants for Winter Interest." The first quarter of 2008 marked the first push downward of the Financial Markets - the beginning of a major market slide resulting from the financial crises caused by the securitization of sub-prime mortgage lending. The Friends financial investments eroded for the next several years.

Spring 2008

The Garden opened the season on time on April 1st with a number of the early-birds of spring already up - Garlic Mustard, Skunk Cabbage and Snow Trillium. Susan Wilkins and Staff would be planting a large number of spring plants, including Bloodroot and Wild Ginger, that were funded by the Friends in the fall of 2007.

new garden map

A Board Meeting of the Friends was held on April 7th at Lyndale Farmstead. A grant to the Park Board from First Bank Fund was being used to print a new Garden map, which would be the first to show the correct orientation of the the paths into the 1993 addition to the Upland Garden. Susan Wilkins presented a set of projects that the Friends could choose to fund in 2008. Funding for a collection of native trees and shrubs in an area near the back gate, that had recently been cleared of Buckthorn saplings was chosen and approved with a cost of around $6,500.

The Friends $8 limited income membership fee was dropped as the cost of the newsletter exceeded that amount. Other membership categories remained unchanged: Individual at $10, Family at $15, Sponsor at $25 to $99, Sustainer $100 at $199, Benefactor at $200 to $499, Life rate at $500 or more.

New newsletter editor Judy Remington published her first issue of The Fringed Gentian™ (Vol. 56, No. 2) and it was the Friends first issue with color throughout, instead of just color on the logo. She included a number of her winter photographs of the Garden and thoughts about spring by herself and others. Master Gardener Greg Lecker wrote and illustrated an article on identifying certain special trees in the Garden. Judy made a change in printers in order to get the color done at a reasonable cost and obtained the volunteer services of Janelle Bilewitch of Studio 7 Design, to come up with the new layout. Once again, the Garden staff published a list of guided tours that would be available in spring, including of course, the early Saturday, every Saturday, bird walk.

Judy Remington
Above: Judy Remington. Friends photo.

The Friends held their annual meeting in the Martha Crone Shelter at the Garden on May 17.

Elected to the Friends Board for the coming year were: Emily Anderson, Gary Bebeau, Steve Benson, Harriet Betzold, Joy Davis, Susan Dean, Ann Godfrey, Larry Gravitz, Melissa Hansen (new), Lyle Johnson, Jeff Lee, Vivian Mason, Gloria Miller (returns), Jim Proctor, Sally Pundt, Steve Pundt, Judy Remington (new), Barry Schade, Phoebe Waugh, Pam Weiner and Susan Wilkins (ex-officio). Cary George retired from the Board.

Jim Proctor reported on the work of removing Buckthorn and Garlic Mustard. His team was planned heavy work in the spring on June 1st, 3rd, and 5th, just outside the west perimeter fence to remove Garlic Mustard. The photos from their events show the extent to which the area was infiltrated by the pest and the scene after the work was done. The issue of the trails in South Wirth was again discussed.

At the Board of Directors meeting following the annual meeting, the officers elected were: Pam Weiner, President; Vivian Mason, Vice-president; Phoebe Waugh, Secretary; Gary Bebeau, Treasurer.

Continuing in committee roles were: Gary Bebeau, memorials; Joy Davis, membership; Ann Godfrey, volunteers; Steve Benson, money management; and Judy Remington, newsletter editor. Historian is vacant.

Membership at the time was 290 including 14 life members.

Summer 2008

2008 storm  damage

The Showy Lady’s Slippers bloomed on June 11. June 9 is the average bloom date.

In the summer issue of The Fringed Gentian™, (Vol. 56, No. 3) Jim Proctor and Pam Weiner reviewed the work of the Friends Invasive Plant Action Group (FIPAG). Pam reviewed Douglas Tallamy’s new book Bringing Nature Home.

Susan Wilkins had ordered over 120 new trees and shrubs to be planted in the Fall - all funded by the Friends. Serious hail damage occurred in the Garden in early spring and again from large storms that passed through on June 21 and then heavy wind damage from storms on August 23 (photos by Phoebe Waugh.)

2008 Storm damage 2008 storm damage

Autumn 2008

The Friends held a Board Meeting on September 17 at the Lyndale Farmstead. The first part of the meeting was a discussion about the core organizational values of the Friends. A committee was formed of Vivian Mason, Gloria Miller, Emily Anderson, Sally Pundt and Steve Benson to work on this - the result would be a restatement of the mission statement which had been written in 1989.

Approval was given to finalize the details of a Student Transportation Grant Program which would subsidize bus transportation of school children to the Garden for a naturalist education program. $2,000 was allocated for the start of the program. In November a letter was mailed to the membership explaining the program and asking for donations to support it. [pdf]

The north Garden tree and shrub planting took place with 276 trees and shrubs planted with 21 species represented. The Friends funded $6,705 of the cost. [Details here.]

Invasive Buckthorn removal events were held on October 19 and 25th in an area just outside the Garden Fence. [photos] Earlier on August 23rd a special event was held to remove Japanese Knotweed which was straddling the fence line on the east side of the Garden. The species had been planted in the Garden in 1952 by Martha Crone.

Below: Photos from the spring Garlic Mustard event and the October Buckthorn Pull. Friends photos. More photos.

Pulling Garlic Mustard Buckthorn removal
Jack Schultz
Chester Schultz

We noted the passing of Dr. Chester J. (Jack) Schultz Jr. on October 20, 2008. Jack was a long-time member of the Friends. He was active on the Board of Directors for 11 years from 1994 through 2004 and served as treasurer. Jack was a retired Navy Captain and a retired professor of the University of Minnesota Dental School. His wife of 54 years, Shirley, served for a number of years as volunteer coordinator.

In the fall issue of The Fringed Gentian™ (Vol. 56, No.4) the tree planting was covered, the naturalists wrote summer phenology notes, Naturalist Diana Thottungal wrote about Mushrooms in the Garden, and Tammy Mercer wrote about her early morning bird walks at the Garden. The Gentian was now printed on 30% post consumer waste paper. It had been first printed on recycled paper beginning in Vol. 38, No.4 in 1991, but that was dropped in years following.

A volunteer appreciation event was held on November 8 at the photography studio of Lars and Melissa Hansen, with the Friends providing beverages, food, door prizes and the Park Board providing desserts. The Friends hired Chow Girls to provide the food catering. More Photos.

Volunteer event
Above: Volunteers in the food line at the Volunteer event. Photo Phoebe Waugh.

Website development work continued. The site, now 15 months old, was developed by board member Gary Bebeau, it had 240 pages, 1,170 photos and a history of the Friends and the Garden was starting to be incorporated into the site. At the September board meeting the Friends authorized an account at PayPal to facilitate credit card transactions on the website. One set of pages added this season was called “then and now” and provided a photo comparison of the Garden this year compared to historical photos. The entire set can be reviewed at this link.

The Friends ended the year with assets of $43,000. Revenue in this non-fundraising year was $15,800 of which membership revenue was $6,600, memorials were $280, special donations were $5,000. Expenses were $7,500 of which $4,700 for newsletter and other printing, and $6,700 was paid to the Park Board for the plants.

2008 was a year of below normal precipitation following a year that was above average. Temperatures were in a normal range and except for heavy hail storms in spring and wind storms in August, there were not any significant events. The winter of 2007/08 was typical, producing the median snowfall of around 43 inches, as would be the winter of 2008/09.

Photo top of page: Artist in the Garden in May 2008. Photo Phoebe Waugh

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 the Friends of the Wild Flower Garden.

Archive of the Friends Newsletter The Fringed Gentian™

Vol. 56, # 1 Winter 2008, Linda Cody interim editor.

Vol. 56, # 2, Spring 2008, Judy Remington, Editor

Vol. 56, # 3, Summer 2008, Judy Remington, Editor

Vol. 56, # 4, Autumn 2008, Judy Remington, Editor

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. "" - 020721