The return of spring is such a heartening part of our four season cycle. It feels like a genuine miracle, to have the warming earth re-awaken the vibrancy of our sensory awareness. Especially those senses that can almost go dormant in the winter, like one’s sense of smell. Until a whiff of damp earth reminds a woodland walker how much they longed for a mossy moment in the thawing sprawl of a spring forest. In the pauses afforded by those moments of re-awakening, for me, the inhale of spring restores and the exhale carries along an acknowledgement that the sensory stillness of another winter is in retreat. What a visceral experience to live in a land where so much change occurs at this time of year. What a gift to have such a vibrant and familiar place to re-awaken one’s senses as the Wildflower Garden.
In addition to the return of spring, we have much to celebrate here at the Wildflower Garden. Remarkably and with great joy, phase two of the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden boardwalk project has been completed, with an additional 327 feet of elevated boardwalk installed. This includes a 40 foot long tapered gathering space with a slender 20 foot long curved bench. This design allows for the free-flowing movement of visitors while providing space for birding and the study and enjoyment of the wetland garden. Now fully complete, the boardwalk totals over 600 feet in length and meanders elegantly through the heart of the historic Wildflower Garden.
A grand opening ceremony will take place on Friday, April 26, 2016 from 2 to 4 pm with the ribbon cutting at 3 pm.
This project was made possible through a collaborative effort between the Friends of the Wild Flower Garden (Friends) and the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB). Working together for over seven years from inception to completion, this project has exemplified how the Friends and the MPRB work together to bring out the very best at the Wildflower Garden. The generous Friends’ project donations totaled over $142,000 for phases one and two of the project— financially supporting more than 50% of the design, construction and installation costs to bring this project to completion.
The Phase I section of the Boardwalk. Photo Kari Ramstrom.
Several Friends board members were closely involved with this project along with numerous contractors and MPRB staff members. The amount of effort, creativity and ingenuity to envision the boardwalk and the dedication and perseverance to bring it to fruition over these past many years is largely awe-inspiring, and honestly, a tad astounding.
With deep and sincere gratitude, thank you to the Friends, project funders, project cheerleaders, designers, contractors, and MPRB staff- everyone who has supported these efforts. All of whom were essential to completing the Wildflower Garden’s award-winning boardwalk.
Friends’ members, your monetary gifts large and small towards the project are genuinely appreciated and held with great esteem by the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board. Without your contributions, this project would not have been made possible. Thank you and enjoy this beautiful addition to the Wildflower Garden that we all cherish.
And happy spring!
Susan Wilkins is the Garden’s Curator. Her column appears courtesy of the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board.