President's Letters

As published in The Fringed Gentian™.

Summer 2021

Volume 69, No. 2

Dear Friends,

As I am planting my vegetable garden, containers, and adding new garden flowers, the staff at the Garden has been busy planting this spring. Why are they planting, when it’s a wildflower garden? Don’t plants just grow, and propagate? No…trees die, is sunnier and supports different vegetation, and critters do some damage. Yes…the fence to keep out the deer and trails to keep us humans off the plants do help. According to Gary Bebeau’s historical notes on the Friends’ website, one hundred years ago, Eloise Butler planted Narrow-leaved Leek, Sweet Black-eyed Susan, and Queen Anne’s lace. Seventy-five years ago, Martha Crone planted 175 Minnesota Dwarf Trout Lily plants, unique to Minnesota counties: Rice, Goodhue, and Steele. The trout lily is a spring highlight of many Garden visitors.

Each year along with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, the Friends provide funds to pay for plantings in the Garden. Your membership fees and donations support this endeavor. Martha Crone, wrote in the first Fringed Gentian™, January 1953, “It requires sufficient funds, help and material to do justice to such a unique garden which is conducted for the preservation of herbaceous plants, shrubs and trees.”

The board will be reviewing the membership fees this year. In 1953 membership was $3 and over the last decade $15. I encourage you to invite a friend or two to become members. In our world of recycling, reusing, and reducing, support the Garden with a birthday, graduation, anniversary or any occasion gift in honor of your special person(s).

This year for our Annual Member Meeting in September, we will have a guest speaker, John Moriarty, author of A Field Guide to our Natural World in the Twin Cities and one of the co-authors of the updated Minnesota’s Natural Heritage. My hope is an annual speaker will become a Friends’ tradition. I look forward to your joining us for this event in September. More details will be mailed to you in August.

Please feel free to contact me with your ideas and suggestions at fern@friendsofeloisebutler.org.

May the Garden Be with You

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New plants getting ready for the new home in the Garden. Photo by Jennifer Olson

Plant wagon at the garden

Spring 2021

Volume 69, No. 1

Dear Friends,
Spring is coming! Vaccines are arriving! I am hopeful.

The Garden will open in April when the snow and ice have disappeared. Initially masks, social distancing, and one-way trails with limited hours will continue as we did in 2020.

Researchers from the University of Vermont collected data from 3200 online surveys by Vermonters during 16 days in May 2020 at a time when their governor had placed restrictions on businesses and social gatherings to limit the impact of COVID-19. Respondents reported increased participation in outdoor activities: walking up 70%, wildlife watching up 64%, relaxing outside alone up 58% and taking photos and creating art up 54%. Nearly 60% of participants experienced improved mental health and well-being being outdoors.

A January 2021 Audubon magazine article described data. The German Center for Integrative Biodiversity connected greater bird biodiversity to increased life satisfaction in 26,000 Europeans and seeing 10% more bird species generates satisfaction on par with a comparable increase in income. Researchers from Cal Poly reported hikers who listened to birdsong had a better overall experience and felt greater joy.

I believe those who walk the trails of the Garden and witness the change of the seasons feel these rewards.

The natural world is our friend, be a friend to the natural world.

May the Garden Be with You

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