2013 begins the 107th year of the Garden, it having been founded on April 15, 1907. It would also be the 61st year for the Friends and Susan Wilkins’ tenth year as Garden Curator.
The first Friends Board meeting of the year took place February 11, 2013, at the home of President Pam Weiner. Garden Curator Susan Wilkins discussed Wirth Park budget issues, progress on the Florilegium Project, and a planned spring prairie burn. Proposals for Garden funding were submitted by Susan Wilkins for the Board to review.
New newsletter editor Meleah Maynard presented her plan for the 2013 issues. Jim Proctor noted that initial invasive removal in the preservation zone around the Garden was completed and now more defined activity was needed. Director Jeff Lee was moving to Duluth but wanted to stay on the board, whereas David Krause wished to drop off. Donna Ahrens resigned from the Board.
Below: Deep snow still around the Garden entrance on April 17th. Photo courtesy Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.
The Garden did not open until April 29th, the second latest opening ever due to heavy snow and repeated snowfalls in April, including one of 9 inches at mid-month. This was just the reverse of 2012 when the last snow disappeared by March 7. (Notes on April weather over the years)
Amidst the snow the next Friends Board meeting was held on April 1 at the Kenwood Community Center. The MPRB (Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board) Planner for Wirth Park, Andrea Weber, attended and provided a summary of plans. A concept master plan for Wirth Park had been approved by the Park Board [pdf copy]. She provided a slide showing the prioritization of projects that were both public and donor funded. Only the two top priorities had funding, whereas the request of $669,087 for Garden projects was fourth on the list. The remodel of the Wirth Pavilion was complete and a grand opening was scheduled for June.
Susan Wilkins reported that the bees were coming to the Garden again, bee-keeping done by Beez Kneez. The Conservation Corp Minnesota was to be back doing lots of buckthorn removal in Wirth Park.
The Friends Invasive Plants Action Group scheduled 6 Garlic Mustard removal events but 2 were canceled due to weather, the four were held in May and Early June. [Photos on this page]
From Susan’s list of Garden Projects, the Board chose to fund planting herbaceous plants around the front entrance - expected cost of $2,500 to $3,000. Also the Board agreed to match MPRB funds for a scientific survey of bee species in the Garden. The data and samples of activity can be used for future monitoring and environment education programs. Expected cost was $3,750.
In the spring issue of The Fringed Gentian™ (Vol. 61, No. 1) President Pam Weiner explained the delays in going forward with the Cary George Wetland Project.
Susan Wilkins outlined planned highlights of the 2013 Garden season. The Ecological Society of America was holding it’s National Conference in Minneapolis and a special Garden program was planned. CCM (Conservation Corp of Minnesota) would be back. A partnership with Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre was made to create a nature program. The Urban Birding Festival would be held again on June 8 & 9. A “nature tots” program for parents and toddlers was being offered. Lauren Borer’s homeschool program for Garden visits was expanded and several new classes were being offered.
Susan offered this thought: “We are growing more than a very special botanic garden within our 15-acre boundaries. We are growing ourselves, and each other, making room for a more beautiful, beneficent world in the process.”
Orientation was held by Melissa Hansen and Garden Naturalists for new volunteers on May 1 at the Martha Crone Shelter. The naturalists returning to staff this year are Jodi Gustafson, Kimberlee Hunter, Becky Horton, Elizabeth Heck, Julia Manor, Tim Glenn, Wes Nugteren and Diana Thottungal. New naturalists for the season are Ron Spinosa and Karen Katz. This was Diana’s 12th and last year as a Garden naturalist.
The Friends held their annual meeting at the Kenwood Park Center on May 19, a Sunday being tried for the first time.
Elected to the Friends Board for the coming year were: Colin Bartol (new), Gary Bebeau, Steve Benson, Sue Budd, Jayne Funk, Melissa Hansen, Jeff Lee, Vivian Mason, Meleah Maynard, Gloria Miller, Jennifer Olson (new), Jim Proctor, Sally Pundt, Steve Pundt, Barry Schade, Anthony Waldera, Phoebe Waugh, Pam Weiner and Susan Wilkins (ex-officio). Donna Ahrens, David Krause, and Judy Remington, left the board.
Susan Wilkins reported that the Garden was busy. The MPRB was creating a request for proposal (RFP) on the boardwalk and that a design team was being chosen, after which the Friends would provide an adhoc committee to meet with the designers to work out details. Meanwhile, the MPRB had received a $43,000 donation from the Donald J. Miller Revocable Trust, which funds were to be used for the Garden, and were being allocated to the boardwalk. The Garden parking lot was converted from a meter system to a pay kiosk system and 16 new spaces were added along the drive. The Florilegium Project was going to have its first exhibit in August.
Jayne Funk’s membership report listed 262 members of which 28 were life members and 41 courtesy members. Jim proctor reported that the Park Board was funding new signs to mark “adopted” areas in the preservation zone so that the mowers would stay out.
At the Board of Directors meeting following the annual meeting, the officers elected were: Pam Weiner, President; Vivian Mason, Vice-president; Secretary, Sue Budd; Gary Bebeau, Treasurer.
Continuing in committee roles were: Gary Bebeau, memorials and website; Melissa Hansen, volunteers; Steve Benson, money management; Meleah Maynard newsletter editor; Phoebe Waugh, historian; Jayne Funk, membership; Jim Proctor, Invasive Plant Action Group (Liz Anderson co-chair).
During the summer 646 plants were put in around the Garden front gate to fill in the area. The cost of $1,652 was funded by the Friends. Plant details here.
Below: Some of the new plants added around the Garden front gate, shown here the following Spring. Photo G D Bebeau
In the summer issue of The Fringed Gentian™ (Vol. 61 No. 2) Board member and twice former Friends president Gloria Miller was interviewed by Donna Ahrens. A detailed article by Meleah Maynard explained the Florilegium Project, and showed several examples. Thirty-three works had been accepted so far. Another article by Meleah introduced the 11 naturalists that staffed the Garden this year. Gary Bebeau contributed a brief article on three unique plants of the Garden in late summer - Butter & Eggs, Partridge Pea and Queen of the Prairie.
The long awaited opening exhibition of the Eloise Butler Garden Florilegium took place on the evening of August 23 at Longfellow House in Minnehaha Park. Artists were present, refreshments were served, Bluegrass music was played. President Pam manned a table of information about the Friends. The exhibition announcement [pdf copy] featured a Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis) on the cover by artist Linda Powers.
Below: Two images from the Eloise Butler Florigieum Project, 2010-2014, MPLS School of Botanical Art.
During the summer 21 school classes came to the Garden with bus transportation subsidized by the Student Transportation Grant Program - 986 students, cost to Friends: $3,410.
Below: This old Oak came down in a severe wind storm the night of June 21/22. Photo G D Bebeau
The Martha Crone Shelter was broken in to via the back room window in early September, with a computer and cell phones taken. That room lacked a motion censor.
The Friends held a Board Meeting on September 30 at the Kenwood Park Community Center. A new citizen group was founding “Friends of the T. S. Roberts Bird Sanctuary” and several officers of the group made a presentation to the Board explaining their plans and organization. While the Friends cannot donate to them directly, as our mission is the Garden, board members were encouraged to do so if they wished.
Susan Wilkins reported on plans to deal with the Emerald Ash Borer which is known to be in the Twin Cities. A group of Green Ash would be selected to be preserved by preventative treatments, but some culling of others would take place over time. Environmental Education Coordinator Marylynn Pulscher took on a new position with MPRB as Community Outreach Coordinator and her replacement is Jamie McBride.
Gary Bebeau has designed several different new member premium books for new family members, new Sponsor members and new Life members. He would be paying the cost of these himself initially to see how they were accepted. He and Pam presented a $25,000 check to Susan as the Friends down payment for the boardwalk development.
Colin Bartol described his backpack project for the Garden. A backpack would be available in the Shelter that would contain items used repeatedly for observation in the Garden - that is - consumable individual materials for students to work with while at the Garden on field trips. Requested funding - $300. It was funded in 2014.
Sue Budd wished to be relieved of the secretary position. Candice (Candy) Bartol was elected to the board to replace her.
Membership at this time was 236 but 28 were delinquent members. The 236 included 41 courtesy members and 28 life members.
Boardwalk progress in the fall: In September, following the Request for Proposal, MPRB chose the Cuningham Group to do the design and engineering work for the project. Design development along with community meetings was scheduled for Sept. and October 2013. Permitting and bidding was scheduled for November through January 2014 with first phase construction to be done before spring in 2014. The Friends deposited $25,000 with the Park Board as the phase one commitment to this project.
The first planning meeting for boardwalk design was held on October 1st at Park Board headquarters with members of the Cuningham Group design team, Park Board planning staff, the Garden Curator and members of The Friends Planning Committee (Pam Weiner, Steve Pundt, Gary Bebeau) in attendance. Members of the Planning Committee met at the Garden on October 29th with Susan Wilkins to review the proposed design of the boardwalk, width, height, and ideas for the bridge area.
Below: The old cedar bridge of 1990/91 which is to be replaced by the new bridge section of the new boardwalk. Photo G D Bebeau.
An Open house and public comment meeting occurred on November 21st for public review of the design thus far. The meeting was at the Wirth Park Pavilion, 3275 Glenwood Ave. No., Golden Valley, MN 6:30 to 7:30 PM. In December People for Parks put up a $12,500 matching grant for the Friends for the Cary George Wetland Project - to be reached by Aug. 2014.
The Friends Invasive Plants Action Group scheduled three sessions in September and October to remove Buckthorn in the preservation zone around the Garden. [Photos on this page]
In the fall issue of The Fringed Gentian™ (Vol. 61, No.3) Pam Weiner reviewed the full years events. Susan Wilkins reviewed all the Garden happenings. Naturalist Liz Heck had created an inventory of Garden sedges and wrote an article about them. New Garden Naturalist Ron Spinosa wrote “A fascination with Fungi.” Jim Proctor and Liz Anderson summed up the years work for his group and added this detail:
This July, a special group visited the Garden for the first time and were Invasives volunteers for an afternoon. As part of a Family Partnership summer program, nine urban kids, ages 10 to 12, participated in a Buckthorn and Art project organized by Jim Proctor. The kids spent about two hours in the preservation zone outside the Garden, where they used weed wrenches to enthusiastically pull Buckthorn.
Next, they gathered up and cleaned the plants’ black, wiry roots for the art project. Jim also brought in additional plant materials, including the stems of sumac, maple and ash; pine needles and cones; grape tendrils and more. He showed the kids ways to assemble them into art objects that became wands, swords, gifts and even a microphone. The entire project took place outside on a beautiful summer afternoon. Best of all, the kids seemed at ease and at home in their outdoor classroom.
A volunteer appreciation event was held on November 3 at St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church in South Minneapolis. The Friends provided beverages, food, door prizes and the Park Board providing desserts.
Below: At the November Volunteer Event, Garden Naturalists Dakota Sexton, Karen Katz and Lauren Borer. Friends photo.
The Friends ended the year with assets of $68,000. Revenue in this non-fundraising year was $17,200 of which membership revenue was $4,300, memorials were $260, special donations were $9,600. Expenses were $6,100, $1,650 was paid to the Park Board for the plants, $25,000 to the Park Board as deposit on the boardwalk, $3,750 to the Park Board for the bee survey, $3,410 was spent on Student Transportation Grants, and $520 was spent on weed wrench tools for the Invasive Action Group. One major donation of $6,000 from The Steven Leuthold Foundation was received.
Weather: The unusual late date for the Garden opening was the most notable weather element this year. There was also the severe wind in summer which knocked down several of the old oaks. Total snowfall and precipitation were above average - snowfall at almost 70 inches compared to the average baseline of 43.6 inches.
Photo top of page: The Upland hillside on October 27, 2013. Photo ©G D Bebeau
Meeting Minutes and correspondence of the Friends of the Wild Flower Garden.
Archive of the Friends Newsletter The Fringed Gentian™
Vol. 61, # 1 Spring 2013, Meleah Maynard, Editor
Vol. 61, # 2, Summer 2013, Meleah Maynard, Editor
Vol. 61, # 3, Fall 2013, Meleah Maynard, Editor
Historical Climatology of Minneapolis-St. Paul Area by Charles Fisk.