Prairie in April

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

Winter 2009/2010

2010 begins the 104th year of the Garden, it having been founded on April 15, 1907. It would also be the 58th year for the Friends and Susan Wilkins’ seventh year as Garden Curator.

Diana Thottungal
Garden Naturalist Diana Thottungal. Friends photo.

The first Friends board meeting of the year took place January 11, 2010, at the home of President Pam Weiner. Garden Curator Susan Wilkins reported that the first ever management plan for the Garden was completed (PDF Version), only subject to review by the Park Commissioners. Tour coordinator Lauren Borer was returning to the Garden staff this year along with two interns. A list of projects for future funding was presented for the board to discuss, meanwhile, the board approved funding for native tree planting in the woodland adjacent to the wetland, cost to be between $3,000 and $3,500. A review of the Friends bylaws was started - they had last been re-written in 1991.

In the winter issue of The Fringed Gentian™ [Vol. 58, No. 1], Judy Remington editor, Susan Wilkins reviewed the four categories of undesirable plants at the Wildflower Garden and what methods are used to control or tolerate them. Naturalist Diana Thottungal wrote about The Secret Life of Winter - what goes on under the snow. Naturalist Tammy Mercer wrote “My life and death as a Tree.” Photos of last November’s Volunteer Appreciation Event were printed. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources had recently issued a small spiral bound booklet about “Minnesota invasive non-native terrestrial plants” and it was reviewed in the newsletter.

Spring 2010

The Garden opened the season on time on April 1st with an unusual high temperature of 81 degrees. There had been no snow during March and only 0.69 inch of rain.

Jim Proctor
Friends board member Jim Proctor. Friends photo

A Friends’ Board Meeting was held on April 5, 2010, at the Lyndale Farmstead, 39th and Bryant Ave So. Susan Wilkins confirmed she had on staff two interns, one new replacement naturalist and six students from Breck school.

Jim Proctor and the Friends Invasive Plant Action Group (FIPAG) were selected to receive the 2009 Remarkable Volunteer Service Award from the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB). Jim is the volunteer coordinator for FIPAG. The group was nominated by Susan Wilkins, for the extensive and critical work they have accomplished in helping to control invasive plants in and around the Garden. The award ceremony for recipients was held on Wednesday April 7th, 2010 at MPRB headquarters, 2117 West River Road, Minneapolis. The award includes a $500 donation to the Garden.

The purpose of the Friends newsletter was discussed. Besides copies sent to the membership, a larger number of copies were reserved for handouts at the Garden Shelter and other educational venues. Costs must be constrained to the amount of revenue that the Board felt should be allocated to the newsletter. The newsletter has a mix of purposes - communication with the membership, information about the Garden, and educational aspects that dovetail with the Mission Statement. Newsletter editor Judy Remington had enlisted a new layout designer, Karen McCall, who lives in Bryn Mawr, to help with newsletter production.

Susan Wilkins
Susan Wilkins presents the Garden Management Plan at the Friends Annual Meeting. Friends photo.

Volunteer coordinator Melissa Hansen reported a full roster of 52 shelter volunteers. Jim Proctor had 4 invasive pulls scheduled for spring and the effort would now be on the east side of the Garden, as the west side would be turned over to the Legacy Stewards. Ellen Lipschultz, who joined the Board in 2009, joined Jim as co-chair of the Invasive Plants Action Group - the new name for the endeavor.

In the spring issue of The Fringed Gentian™ (Vol. 58, No. 2) Susan Wilkins reported that this year there would be an artist’s residency program with local painter and educator Joel Pieper, who would be painting in the Garden and teaching a program in June. Naturalist Diana Thottungal wrote about “A Butterfly in Your Hand” and Naturalist Tammy Mercer wrote “Native Plants for the Birds.”

A burn of the prairie area at the Garden took place on April 20th. There was frost on May 9th.

Jim Proctor, had an exhibition of his natural materials art work from May 1 to June 6 at the Swan Song Gallery in Maiden Rock WI.

The Friends 2010 Annual Meeting was held May 22, 2010 in the Garden, beginning at 10 AM. The meeting began outdoors then was moved into the shelter when rain began to fall. Thunder and lightning continued for most of the meeting. Special features of the meeting included a presentation by Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Commissioner Anita Tabb and a report about the five-year Garden Management Plan by Susan Wilkins.

Anita Tabb on right
Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Commissioner Anita Tabb (on the right) meets with The Friends Board, outside before the rains came. Friends photo.

Elected to the Friends Board for the coming year were: Donna Ahrens, Emily Anderson, Gary Bebeau, Steve Benson, Sue Budd, Susan Dean, Jayne Funk (new), Melissa Hanson, Jeff Lee, Ellen Lipschultz, Vivian Mason, Karen McCall (new), Gloria Miller, Jim Proctor, Sally Pundt, Steve Pundt, Judy Remington, Barry Schade, Anthony Waldera, Phoebe Waugh, Pam Weiner and Susan Wilkins (ex-officio). Newly elected director Karen McCall is assisting Judy Remington.

Membership at the time was 283 including 20 life members. A number of non-paying members were dropped during the past year which caused the drop in numbers from the prior year count of 300.

At the Board of Directors meeting following the annual meeting, the officers elected were: Pam Weiner, President; Vivian Mason, Vice-president; Sue Budd, Secretary; Gary Bebeau, Treasurer. Director Sue Budd agreed to make the secretary position permanent. She was acting secretary for the past year.

Continuing in committee roles were: Gary Bebeau, memorials and website; Melissa Hansen, volunteers; Steve Benson, money management; Judy Remington, newsletter editor; Phoebe Waugh, historian; Emily Anderson, membership; Jim Proctor and Ellen Lipschultz, Invasive Plant Action Group.

Summer 2010

Just after the summer solstice a severe rain storm hit the Garden on June 25 causing extensive path damage, followed by another storm on July 18th that caused much tree damage. Photos and details here.

Trees down in Storm
Tree damage from the July 18th storm. Photo Phoebe Waugh.

In the summer issue of The Fringed Gentian™, (Vol. 58, No. 3) long-time volunteer and Friends member Marie Demler was interviewed and board member Steve Benson wrote a short article about former newsletter Lisa Locken’s photographs. Her collection had been given to the Park Board and a number of them were printed in this issue.

Autumn 2010

The Friends held a Board Meeting on October 4 at the Lyndale Farmstead. An invited guest was Dr. Lee Frelich, President of The Friends of Loring Park, who presented a summary of his organization and how it works with the Park Board. Jeff Lee reported that David Fisher had returned to head administration at the Park Board. President Pam presented an outline of discussion on the financial future of the Friends. A special meeting was held on this topic on December 14 with guest facilitator Julia Classen of Aurora Consulting. The key issue was whether the Friends should put more emphasis on fund raising in order to provide more help for the Garden. The consensus of that meeting was yes.

In October the trees that were to be funded by the Friends arrived for planting. There were 125 of 6 species. Details here. Cost to the Friends was $3,046. Photo by the Friends.

tree planting activity

President Pam had been in contact with former Gardener Cary George. The Friends wished to provide some kind of feature in the Garden in his honor and as Cary thought the wetland was the heart of the Garden, a project to replace the main bridge over the water channel in the wetland would be a fitting honor. This idea would develop into the first section of the wetland boardwalk that would be installed in 2015.

In the fall issue of The Fringed Gentian™ (Vol. 58, No. 4) Susan Wilkins reviewed the artist in residence program at the Garden and announced a new partnership with the Minnesota School for Botanical Art whereby a florilegium would be produced by current and former school students. All plants would be from Eloise Butler and the art work would be donated to the Park Board for display and educational programs. The first work would begin in the spring.

Part of the newsletter was devoted to Board member art, drawing, photos and Jim Proctor's seed creations. Naturalist Tammy Mercer wrote about “The Many Colors of Feathers.”

Volunteer Coordinator Melissa Hansen reported on the years work: “Closing out an amazing autumn and the warmest October since 1963, the last volunteer shift of 2010 was on a beautiful Sunday, October 31. The temperature hit 49 degrees and the sky was brilliant blue in the sunshine. Those of us who visited that final day felt lucky to have seen the Garden that last time. The volunteers did a great job this past season. The early spring and long moderate autumn brought us a steady stream of visitors, which kept volunteers very busy. This season we added nine wonderful new people to our Shelter volunteer roster, and other areas of volunteering also gained members.”

A volunteer appreciation event was held on November 7 at the Kenwood Cafe on West 21st street in Minneapolis. with the Friends providing beverages, food, door prizes and the Park Board providing desserts. Susan Wilkins also provided an Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden tote bag to all attending. Seventy attended. Susan Wilkins reported that during 2010 Volunteers affiliated with the Friends provided 2,046 hours of service.

A guest speaker at the volunteer event was Marilyn Garber, founder of the Minnesota School of Botanical Art, who gave a brief talk explaining the Florilegium Project, a joint project of the school, EBWG and MPRB, that was organized that fall and would continue for several years.

Below: two photos from the 2010 Volunteer Event. 1st photo - Steve Benson and Nita Lussenhop. Second photo - two volunteers. Friends photos.

volunteer event photo volunteer event photo

The Friends ended the year with assets of $62,000. Revenue in this non-fundraising year was $10,600 of which membership revenue was $5,200, memorials were $516, special donations were $2,600. Expenses were $7,300, $3,100 was paid to the Park Board for the plants and $150 was spent on Student Transportation Grants.

Weather: 2010 had some unusual weather. March and April were among the warmest in history. July had a tree destroying storm. August was the second warmest in local weather history. September was very wet. November and December had a lot of early snow including a record snowfall for December. On the 10th-11th, 17.1 inches was recorded at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport. That caused the collapse of the fabric roof on the Metrodome arena in downtown Minneapolis.

Photo top of page: The Upland Prairie in April 2008. 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. 58, # 1 Winter 2010, Judy Remington, Editor
Vol. 58, # 2, Spring 2010, Judy Remington, Editor
Vol. 58, # 3,Summer 2010, Judy Remington, Editor
Vol. 58, # 4,Autumn 2010, 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