Upland Hillside

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

Winter 2011/2012

2012 begins the 106th year of the Garden, it having been founded on April 15, 1907. It would also be the 60th year for the Friends and Susan Wilkins’ ninth year as Garden Curator.

The first Friends Board meeting of the year took place January 23, 2012, at the home of President Pam Weiner. Susan Wilkins reported Winter activities in the Garden included removing second generation invasive species shrubs from all areas of the Garden and the cut piles would be burned in late winter. Cleanup was also continuing around Wirth Park from the tornado damage last May. An updated tree inventory was also done in the late fall along with a new topographical survey. The wetland was to be surveyed in the spring in preparation for the boardwalk development. There was a plan to keep bees in the Garden this year and finally, a new flue liner was installed in the Shelter Fireplace.

Ann Hall
Ann Hall. Friends photo.

The survey taken of Board members on the newsletter cost issue led to the conclusion that we could reduce the issues from 4 to 3 by dropping the winter issue. Each issue would continue to be 8 pages and we would print extra for distribution at the Shelter. Mailed versions would continue to be used for those who do not elect to receive a pdf copy by email. It was decided to go to three issues per year, beginning this year.

Proposals for Garden funding were submitted by Susan Wilkins and the board agreed to fund, not to exceed $6,000, buying more herbaceous woodland plants for Violet Way where an extensive amount of Vinca minor was removed in 2011.

The Friends staffed a table at the Landscape Arboretum on March 10 and 11 for their spring gardening event. Melissa Hansen, Steve and Sally Pundt, Gary Bebeau and Christi Bystedt, David and Judy Krause, Ellen Lipschultz, Jayne Funk and volunteers Mike Steffes, and Mary Furth helped out.

John and Joan Haldeman
John and Joan Haldeman, shown here years earlier on their wedding day in 1981 in the Martha Crone Shelter. Friends photo.

The Friends lost two long-time associates in the winter. Ann Hall [photo] passed away on January 2nd. She had been a Shelter Volunteer since 1986, and was awarded "Outstanding Volunteer for 1991" by the MPRB. In the fall 2000 issue of The Fringed Gentian™ it was written: Throughout every season at the Garden since 1986 Ann Hall has served as a weekly volunteer. “It began as a meaningful activity after my husband died,” she said, “and I enjoyed it so much I kept on.” Always interested in wildflowers, Ann holds a college degree in botany and is an avid gardener. In recent years she created and maintains a wildflower garden in a general use area at her condominium complex. “It is a sunny area,” she said, “so I planted flowers such as purple coneflower, dames rocket, wild sweet william, liatris and early phlox.”

On February 18, Friends member Preben Mosborg passed away. He was a carpenter by trade and a lover of nature, jazz, opera and wrote poetry, some of which was published in The Fringed Gentian™. You can read them here.

In the winter issue of The Fringed Gentian™ [Vol. 60, No. 1], Susan Wilkins reported on the off-season work that she spoke about at the January board meeting. Long-time Friends members John and Joan Haldeman were interviewed. Naturalist Diana Thottungal wrote about “Icicle theory, practice and weirdness” and Naturalist Tammy Mercer wrote about “A tale of two owls.” Photos of last October’s Volunteer Appreciation Event were printed.

Spring 2012

The Garden opened the season on April 1. Unlike the weather delayed opening in 2011, this year the snow was gone on March 7. Temperatures were in the 70s and 80s much of March.

bee hives in garden
Two hives placed in the Garden by Beez Kneez. Photo G D Bebeau, May 2012.

The next Board meeting was held on April 2 at the Kenwood Community Center. Susan Wilkins reported that the bees were definitely coming to the Garden, bee-keeping done by Beez Kneez. and that the boardwalk project had hit some major snags. First, the wetland is protected and many governmental units must approve any changes. Second, cost estimates are much higher than anticipated - up to $100,000 instead of $15,000. A new set of financial guidelines for the Friends was established and approved.

The Friends Invasive Plants Action Group (FIPAG) met with MPRB staff about joint communications on what each is doing around the Garden, The previously called “buffer zone” around the Garden was now the “Preservation Zone.” Conservation Corp of Minnesota (CCM) was doing work in the area for MPRB and the Friends agreed to fund $500, for one day of their work. Jim, Ellen and Liz, FIPAG co-chairs, scheduled 6 Garlic Mustard events for April into early June.

Planning was started for a Friends 60th Anniversary Garden Party Fundraiser for July 22 at the Wirth Pavilion. The goal was to increase membership and raise $2,000 for the Student Transportation Grant Program.

In the spring issue of The Fringed Gentian™ (Vol. 60, No. 2) President Pam Weiner announced the Friends goals for the year and the future and provided details on the Summer Garden Party. Naturalist Tammy Mercer wrote about Green Herons. Liz Anderson, co-chair of our Friends Invasive Plants Action Group was interviewed. Naturalist Diana Thottungal wrote about Clouds.

Green Heron
Green Heron. Photo ©Tammy Mercer

An Urban Birding Festival was held in Wirth Park and the Garden on June 16 and 17 with bird talks, bird walks, touch and see table, and family activities. This was organized by the St. Paul Audubon Society.

The Friends held their Annual Meeting at the Kenwood Park Center on May 19. Elected to the Friends Board for the coming year were: Donna Ahrens, Gary Bebeau, Steve Benson, Sue Budd, Jayne Funk, Melissa Hansen, David Krause, Jeff Lee, Vivian Mason, Meleah Maynard (new), Gloria Miller, Jim Proctor, Sally Pundt, Steve Pundt, Judy Remington, Barry Schade, Anthony Waldera, Phoebe Waugh, Pam Weiner and Susan Wilkins (ex-officio). Emily Anderson, Susan Dean, Karen McCall and Ellen Lipschultz left the board.

Susan Wilkins now reported that the survey of the Garden wetland showed that the area was of very good quality and that it would be possible to bypass DNR permitting for the boardwalk. Melissa Hansen needed to have a replacement for her volunteer coordinator position and the secretary position would also need a new person. Planning for the upcoming Garden Party was worked on. Membership at the time was 264 after dropping those who no longer responded to renewals. Jayne Funk presented a chart that showed 23% of current members had been members for 16 to 27 years. Unfortunately, those dropped from membership the majority had been members for 6 to 27 years.

At the Board of Directors meeting following the Annual Meeting, the officers elected were: Pam Weiner, President; Vivian Mason, Vice-president; Secretary - vacant but Sue Budd would fill in; Gary Bebeau, Treasurer.

Continuing in committee roles were: Gary Bebeau, memorials and website; Melissa Hansen, volunteers; Steve Benson, money management; Judy Remington, newsletter editor; Phoebe Waugh, historian; Jayne Funk, membership; Jim Proctor, Invasive Plant Action Group (but Liz Anderson and Ellen Lipschultz continued to assist).

Summer 2012

Garden Party cake

The Friends 60th Anniversary Garden Party was held on July 22 at the Wirth Park Pavilion to raise membership and funds for the Student Transportation Grant Program. Tickets were sold in advance on the website and at the door on that date. A silent auction was held, there were refreshment, Garden tours, and a jazz combo on a wonderful sunny, but hot, day. Only three new members were obtained but the silent auction brought in $2,137, ticket sales of $1,535, with net proceeds of $4,157.

Below: The family of Muriel Avery (center seated), widow of former Garden Curator Ken Avery, attending the Garden Party. Photo by Judy Remington.

Avery Family
Cary George
Cary George and Susan Wilkins at the Garden Party. Photo by John Maciejny.
Pam Weiner, Stevew Benson, Sally Pundt
Pam Weiner, Steve Benson, Sally Pundt at the Garden Party. Photo by John Maciejny.

The summer issue of The Fringed Gentian™ was delayed into fall to space out the new 3-issues per year plan.

During the summer Garden staff and staff from the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum made a trip to Beltrami County in North Central Minnesota to collect Showy Lady’s Slippers that had been salvaged from road construction projects. Both the Garden and the Arboretum provided a new home for these. [Full article and photos]

Below:A storage area for rescued Showy Lady's-slippers in Beltrami County. Some of these were brought to the Garden in 2012. Photo courtesy Susan Wilkins.

Showy Lady's-slippers planted in the Garden

During the spring and summer 2,850 herbaceous plants and 152 trees and shrubs were planted on two separate projects funded by the Friends. The trees had been approved in 2011, but planting was delayed due to lack of soil moisture until this year. Total cost to the Friends was $7,647. [Details of species planted]

Autumn 2012

The Friends Invasive Plants Action Group scheduled three sessions in September and October to remove Buckthorn in the preservation zone around the Garden. At this time Ellen Lipschultz resigned as co-chair of the group. On October 26th, the Conservation Corps of Minnesota cut and treated buckthorn in the Preservation Zone along with help from Jim Proctor, Liz Anderson and Susan Wilkins. The Friends funded the cost of $740 as previously agreed upon. [photos of all pulls of the Fall here.]

Below: Part of the crew from Conservation Corps of Minnesota working on buckthorn on Oct. 26, 2012. Friends photo.

buckthorn pull Oct 26 2012

The Friends held a Board Meeting on October 1 at the Kenwood Park Community Center. Susan Wilkins noted that over 1,400 had taken part in Garden tours and programs this year. Over 5,700 new plants were put in during 2012, although those later in the season were being affected by the dry summer weather.

Steve Pundt reported on his meeting held by the Citizens Advisory Council on Wirth Park. The group had prioritized projects and recommended a list to the Park Board, but the Board voted to move only the new Wirth Park Welcome Center to the top of the list and use all the available funding for it. Therefore other park areas including the Wildflower Garden, would receive no project funding.

The boardwalk project was in need of a designer, and the MPRB will not go forward without assurance of funding - thus stalled for now. Assurance of funding was not possible without good cost estimates.

Below: More photos from the Fall buckthorn pulls. (Friends photos.)

Buckthorn removal Sept 23, 2012 92912 image

Membership at this time was now clear of delinquent members. Board member Anthony Waldera had offered to donate $250 for each board member that took on a life Membership. Four members did so and Anthony donated $1000.

In the fall issue of The Fringed Gentian™ (Vol. 60, No. 4) Susan Wilkins reviewed all the planting that occurred this past season and among the Garden guests this season were six women from around the world who were influential leaders working on climate change issues. The women were from Morocco, Liberia, Brazil, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Ethiopia and while touring the Garden they helped remove some Vinca minor. Naturalist Diana Thottungal wrote a second article about Clouds.

This issue was the last for editor Judy Remington. The new editor would be Meleah Maynard, a master gardener, writer, and senior editor of the University of Minnesota’s Alumni Magazine

A volunteer appreciation event was held on November 9 at a new venue - St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church in South Minneapolis. The Friends provided beverages, food, door prizes and the Park Board providing desserts. St. Mary’s had a large meeting room available with a large attached kitchen and all tableware was available to use.

During the year board member Gary Bebeau opened a Facebook page for the Friends (named Friends of the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden) and began weekly posts about plants, the Garden and the Friends. The web site which he also maintained, completed its 4th year. Annual histories of the Friends and the Garden were beginning to be added to the site. Twenty-seven years were now complete. Individual plant information pages numbered 350 and most of the back issues of The Fringed Gentian™ were now on the website.

refurbished bench
Above: During the Summer the Park Board carpenters refurbished some of the benches in the Wild Flower Garden. Photo G D Bebeau

The Friends ended the year with assets of $85,000. Revenue in this fundraising year was $24,400 of which membership revenue was $6,400, memorials were $350, special donations were $15,500. Expenses were $8,100, $7,600 was paid to the Park Board for the plants, $740 to CCM, $705 was spent on Student Transportation Grants, and $470 was spent on storage bins for tools for the Invasive Action Group.

Donations for the Cary George Wetland Project were $7,050 during the year, included in which was a major $7,000 donation from The Steven Leuthold Foundation. Donations for the Student Transportation Grant Program totaled $5,038.

Membership at year end was 274, of which 42 were courtesy membership.

Weather: 2012 did not have the harsh weather of the prior year. Snow disappeared on March 7. March was the warmest in weather history by 3 degrees. 2012 was a dry year; early Summer was wet, but late Summer and Autumn were dry - total precipitation and snowfall, regardless of a 10.5 inch snowfall in early December, were both below average.

Photo top of page: The Upland Hillside in October 2012. 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. 60, # 1 Winter 2012, Judy Remington, Editor

Vol. 60, # 2, Spring 2012, Judy Remington, Editor

Vol. 60, # 3,Fall 2012, 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. "https://www.friendsofthewildflowergarden.org" - 121619