Restored Prairie

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

Winter 2008/2009

2009 begins the 103rd year of the Garden, it having been founded on April 15, 1907. It would also be the 57th year for the Friends and Susan Wilkins’ sixth year as Garden Curator.

The first Friends Board meeting of the year took place January 12, 2009, at Lyndale Farmstead. Park Board Environmental Education Coordinator Marylynn Pulsher attended and discussed the role of her staff in regards to the Garden. Work continued on the revision to the Friends mission statement. The Board approved a grant to the Garden for $3,500 for wildflower plant additions to areas along Violet Way.

Melissa Hansen
New Friends Volunteer Coordinator Melissa Hansen. Friends photo.

Another Friends’ Board Meeting was held on March 23, 2009, at the Lyndale Farmstead, 39th and Bryant Ave So. Susan Wilkins announced that staffing for the Garden this year would two include two new naturalists, Julia and Rebecca and two interns.

The Board revised the membership dues by changing the $10 individual rate to a $15 rate and the Family rate to $25, leaving unchanged the $100 Sponsor rate and $500 Life rate, and dropping the $200 Sustainer rate. These were published in the spring newsletter.

Jim Proctor, Susan Wilkins, and the invasive control team were worked out the spring removal schedule. The campaign for funds for student transportation to the Garden, begun in the fall of 2008, was well received by members and over $2,200 had been received.

In the winter issue of The Fringed Gentian™ [Vol. 57, No. 1], (Judy Remington, editor), Susan Wilkins noted that late fall was a good time to remove invasives as they remained green after the native species lost their leaves. The issue contained articles by Naturalists Diana Thottungal “Baby, it’s cold outside,” and Tammy Mercer “Winter Survival of Warm-blooded Critters.” Highlights of last fall’s Volunteer Appreciation Night were included.

Board member Ann Godfrey ended her volunteer coordinator position this year and Melissa Hansen took over. A training session for volunteers was held on April 15th and 16th.

Spring 2009

The Garden opened the season on time on April 1st. Susan Wilkins and Staff planted a large number of spring plants, including Poke Milkweed and Bishops Cap with funding approved by the Friends in January. There were 1,460 plants of 26 different species. Cost to the Friends was $2,869 (Full Details)

Annual Meeting
A gathering of some of the members prior to the start of the meeting. Friends photo.

The spring issue of The Fringed Gentian™ (Vol. 57, No. 2) included an article by Board Member Donna Ahrens “A Rookie’s top five wildflower garden volunteer experiences” and Douglas Owens-Pike wrote on Native Plant Diversity at Home. Once again, the Garden staff published a list of guided tours that were available that spring, and of course, the early Saturday, every Saturday, bird walk.

The 56th Annual Membership Meeting of The Friends was held on Saturday, May 16, 2009 at the Wirth Park Pavilion. For a sunny day in May it turned out to be unseasonably cold with a temperature of 42 degrees at the start of the meeting and the temperature only reaching 55 degrees in the afternoon. Twenty one members were present.

Lyle Johnson
Above: Retiring board member Lyle Johnson. Friends photo.

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

Annual reports were presented and accepted. The membership voted on approving a revised mission statement for the Friends and with several minor wording changes it was approved. The previous mission statement has been in place since 1989. The Fringed Gentian™ editor Judy Remington presented new 100% recycled paper samples to be used in future issues.

Author Judy Bridell was present and introduced her new book for children “Thip! Thap! Shhiup!” Susan Wilkins spoke about a section of the Upland Prairie that was being renovated after the loss of a number of Red Oaks over the past years. A presentation was made about the contributions of Elizabeth Schutt to the Friends, including the formation of the Mendon Schutt Family Fund at the Minneapolis Foundation, which provided an annual gift to the Friends.

Below: Two views of a section of the Prairie restoration. Photos G D Bebeau

Restoration area before planting
The area at the path intersection at guidepost 36 on July 28, 2008.
Restoration area after planting
The same area at the path intersection at guidepost 36 on Aug. 4, 2009. The oak on the left of the 2008 photo had died and was removed.

Membership at the time was 300 including 14 life members. The first schools to make use of the Student Transportation Grant visited in May. There were 33 12 year-olds from Olson Middle School and 51 Kindergartners from Longfellow.

At the Board of Directors meeting following the annual meeting, the officers elected were: Pam Weiner, President; Vivian Mason, Vice-president, Phoebe Waugh, temporary Secretary, Gary Bebeau, Treasurer. Sue Budd would take over as acting Secretary in the summer.

Continuing, or new, in committee roles were: Gary Bebeau, memorials; Melissa Hansen, volunteers (new); Steve Benson, money management; and Judy Remington, newsletter editor. Phoebe Waugh (new), historian. Jim Proctor, Invasive Plants Action Group. Joy Davis retired after 13 years as membership secretary. Emily Anderson would take the position.

Summer 2009

During the spring new information signs were erected near the front and back Garden gates. They contained history and seasonal information. (Photos and article) A new Garden census was being conducted by Naturalist Barbara Delany who had previously compiled the 1986 census. The supplier of cedar shaving for trail cover was lost this summer and no replacement was known. So far in 2009 over 70 special tours have been arranged at the Garden under the leadership of Lauren Borer.

Signs Installed
MRPB employees Mike Widmer, Kent Ansell and Mark Hallberg with newly installed map, history and seasonal signs at the Garden’s front gate. (Photo by Don Beimborn)

In the summer issue of The Fringed Gentian™, (Vol. 57, No. 3) Judy Bridell’s new book was reviewed, a sampling of past history was presented, and volunteer George Bridgman was highlighted as he retired from volunteering and moved to Duluth.

July 2009 was the coolest on record. A tornado went through South Minneapolis on August 19, the first touchdown in 28 years.

Autumn 2009

The Friends held a Board Meeting on October 5 at the Lyndale Farmstead. Pam Weiner noted that discussions with John Munger of the Loppett foundations were beginning to show success in that the Loppett trail would soon be moved away from the Garden buffer zone.

In the fall issue of The Fringed Gentian™ (Vol. 57, No.4) Naturalist Diana Thottungal wrote about Pattern of Fall Leaf Drop, and Donna Ahrens wrote about the Kids in the Garden, highlighting the Friends Student Transportation Grant Program.

A volunteer appreciation event was held on Saturday evening October 25 at the photography studio of Lars and Melissa Hanson, same hosts as the prior year, but at a new location. The Friends provided the buffet food and beverages while the MPRB provided door prizes and also a coffee mug for everyone. The large mug sported an Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden name and logo. The selection of food and beverage was voluminous, the quantities ample and no one departed in hunger. All photos from the Friends.

Volunteer Event Group volunteer Group
Park Board Staff
The MPRB naturalists that worked at Eloise Butler were in attendance along with MaryLynn Pulscher who is in charge of all naturalists (second from left in the photo).
George Bridgman
Retiring volunteer and Friends member George Bridgman was honored for his 14 years of volunteer service to the Garden. A gift book was presented to him by Susan Wilkins, Garden Curator, and Pam Weiner, Friends President.

The Friends ended the year with assets of $47,000. Revenue in this non-fundraising year was $13,800 of which membership revenue was $6,700, memorials were $855, special donations were $3,800. Expenses were $6,500, $2,900 was paid to the Park Board for the plants and $1,200 was spent on Student Transportation Grants. 297 children visited the Garden under this program.

Weather: 2009 Temperatures were in a normal range. Snowfall was above average but precipitation in total for the year was the second year in a row of below normal. October was very cool with lots of rain, November was the 2nd warmest on record.

Photo top of page: August 2009: A section of the restored prairie, completed in 2009. 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 the Friends of the Wild Flower Garden.

Archive of the Friends Newsletter The Fringed Gentian™

Vol. 57, # 1 Winter 2009, Judy Remington, Editor

Vol. 57, # 2, Spring 2009, Judy Remington, Editor

Vol. 57, # 3,Summer 2009, Judy Remington, Editor

Vol. 57, # 4,Autumn 2009, 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