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Friends of the Wild Flower Garden
P. O. Box 3793
Minneapolis, MN 55403

News Update from the Friends

Garden Improvements:

gardener's shed with new roof

Above: New shingle roof on the Gardener's Shed and staff Office.

Several improvements to the Garden took place during the winter months. The gardener’s shed which currently serves as the maintenance center is also office space for staff during the Garden’s open season, has a new shingle roof. The east boundary fence has been moved to incorporate an area of mature upland trees within the Garden’s protected area. New fencing was installed along the new boundary. When you enter the upland this coming season you will not see the fence with the barbed wire on top that followed the path into the upland. Both jobs were completed by MPRB workers.

Below: Fence along the upland entrance path removed. New fence added to enclose a stand of mature trees.

fence removed from upland entrance

FIPAG Activities

The Friends Invasive Plant Action Group conducted three buckthorn events in October and three garlic mustard events in the spring. The area of the Maple Bowl now has large spaces free of buckthorn and garlic mustard. Additional weed wrenches and a large selection of native plant seed mixes were purchased for FIPAG for use in the Maple Bowl. Additional information on our activities is in our monthly email newsletter Twigs and Branches. If you don’t receive this, sign up at the link on our website home page.

FIPAG Buckthorn team

The Volunteer Appreciation Event

Once again this past October, after a two year absence, we were able to sponsor and arrange an appreciation event on the evening of October 30 for all the volunteers who contributed their time at the Garden. The group includes Friends docents, Friends Invasive Plant Action Group (FIPAG) volunteers and Park Board Garden volunteers and support staff. The Friends arranged rental space, provided food and beverages and Susan Wilkins provided desserts.

Below: At the October Volunteer Event (l to r) Melissa Hansen, Pam Lapham, Kimberly Ishkov, Jennifer Olson.

Volunteer Event

A New Friends History:

display case with volunteers

Seventy Years of the Friends is a new book that documents the activities of Friends of the Wild Flower Garden and the events happening in the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden from the founding of the Friends in 1952 until 2022. Details on this page. Available in pdf format and a limited number of printed copies.

Sumner Library Project Update:

President Jennifer Olson in April began a display case presentation about the Wildflower Garden at the Minneapolis Sumner Library Branch. The exhibit changes seasonally and is maintained by Jennifer and several Friends supporters. The first display this past spring featured some history about Eloise Butler, spring wildflowers and a display of Judy Remington’s glass tiles on spring wildflowers. Judy, is a former editor of our newsletter, The Fringed Gentian™. Summer and fall displays had a similar theme and the winter display is now on view. The Library is located at 611 Van White Memorial Blvd, (at Olson Highway), Minneapolis. Pictured with the display are those who tend it - (l to r) Maryjane Tessman, Maggie Tuff and Jennifer Olson.

Friends Mission Funding:

The Friends Board of Directors is budgeting over $17,000 in 2023 for our mission program of educational activities, volunteer support, student transportation grants to visit the Garden and funding for plants, habitat and infrastructure at the Garden. Due to Covid-19, student visits have been off limits. We expect they can resume in summer 2023. Volunteers returned to the Garden in August to greet visitors at the new entry kiosk. The Friends Invasive Plant Action Group was supported with purchases of weed wrenches and native plant seed mixes for establishment in the Maple Bowl area. The area of the Maple Bowl now has large spaces free of buckthorn and garlic mustard.

Your donations

You should know that your support contributions to the Friends are entirely used for these Garden projects and our other mission programs. Our administrative expenses are small, on average, 5% of revenue or less, and these expenses are funded from non-contribution revenue.

If you want to read more about the historical aspects of the Garden and the things the Friends have accomplished over the last 70 years visit the "garden history tab" and the "Friends history tab." Links at the bottom of this page.

What your gifts in support of our progam have accomplished!

Garden projects are the largest use of our contribution revenue. Over the last 10 years we have funded $212,000. The two largest components of that amount were $148,000 for our portion of the boardwalk and $40,700 for plants and habitat. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board also provided funding for these two components.

Over the past two years, the addition of new plants continued while visitation to the Garden was in a more restricted mode. All the way back to Eloise Butler’s time, the majority of planting effort in the Garden consisted of the addition and replacement of existing plant species. Unlike long-lived trees, most herbaceous plants die out more quickly (except, it seems, for Trout-lilies which seem to last forever) and need to be replaced to keep the collection in tact. The Garden has its own plant budget that is frequently supplemented by funds from the Friends.

Garden boardwalk
The Garden boardwalk section installed in 2015. Photo courtesy of the Cuningham Group, Design architects.
new plants for the Garden
Garden staff member with two plants - photo courtesy MPRB.

In the Past 70 Years:

20 Friends served as newsletter editor
22 Friends served as president
118 names are on the shelter memorial board
137 Friends served on the Board of Directors
250 Fringed Gentian™ newsletters were created
5,446 Children visited with our Transportation Grant
$47,000 was provided for Garden plants
$98,000 was provided for our educational program
$335,000 was invested in other Garden support.