This winter Eloise Butler again traveled to the East Coast to visit her relatives, as had been her custom since she retired from teaching in 1911. Her residence was at 20 Murray Hill Rd, Malden, Mass. While there she frequently sourced some plants from east coast nurseries. This year plants came from Kelsey’s Nursery in Boxford MA.
In late March she returned to her rented quarters at the residence of John and Susan Babcock at 227 Xerxes Ave. from where she could walk to the Garden.
Eloise Butler’s first Garden Log note of the season was on 21 March when she wrote:
“Trillium nivale in bud” [Snow Trillium]
Her first planting was on April 11 with a clump of Pasque Flower, violets and a few others. Pasque Flower planting was an almost annual occurrence in April. On the 21st she discovered 2 specimens of yellow stemmed Cornus stolonifera (now Cornus sericea L. ssp. sericea) the Red Osier Dogwood. They must have been very nice because the Park Board Nursery, located right up the road in Glenwood Park, was growing them. She promptly brought in six on April 26 and nine cuttings on May 1.
On May 6 she discovered Zizia cordata (now Zizia aptera Fernald) Meadow Zizia in blossom on the west hillside. It is a native species; later in 1923 she planted more.
What she called the “long-eared owl” was also noted in her log.
In the summer months she obtained 6 new species for the Garden: Crow-berry, Devil’s Club, Marsh Cudweed, Queen Anne’s Lace, Silvery Cinquefoil, Squash berry, Details on all 1921 new plantings are listed below beneath the Autumn section.
Creeping Yellowcress, Radicula sylvestris (Rorippa sylvestris) was discovered in bloom on June 21 northeast of the dam. The ‘dam’ was a small structure she had installed when the Garden was first formed, first of earth and then with concrete in 1917. It crossed the water channel that drained the wetland and formed a small pool for aquatics. The water then trickled down into the meadow on the north end of the Garden - an area that is now outside of the Garden's north fence.
ON August 23 Eloise noted that the Lythrum salicaria (Purple Loosestrife) was ‘escaped’ - she had first noted it in garden in 1916 and in 1920 wrote that it “has well established itself farther down the brook below dam.” She was beginning to realize that this species was going to be invasive.
On Sept. 1st, she noted discovering Acalypha virginica, Three-seeded Mercury, in east meadow. This is not a Minnesota plant, but could be the Minnesota species Acalypha rhomboide - Common Three-seed Mercury
On Sept. 9 she noted several specimens of Quercus bicolor (Swamp White Oak) hitherto supposed to be Q. Alba (White Oak). She had previously planted Swamp White Oak in 1917, so these plants were not new to the Garden, but were therefor indigenous, having missed her original census.
In the Fall months she obtained 8 new species for the Garden, all detailed below: Aster Dumosus, Flowering Dogwood, Lindley’s Aster, Northern Woodland Violet, Selkirks Violet, Sweet Black-eyed Susan, Thin-leaf Sunflower, Turquoise Berry-vine, Zig-Zag Goldenrod, the latter is indigenous, but this is the first time she planted it.
During the year she also recorded planting a number of other species previously in the Garden, most from local sources.
Eloise noted in September that there were an unusual number of large puffball mushrooms this season. Her last entry in the log was on November 1st when she noted planting Stiff Goldenrod, Solidago rigida, and Sky Blue Aster, Aster azureus.
When the Garden closed and the office was locked up she departed for the East Coast to visit her sister Cora Pease as she has done every winter since 1911.
Weather: 1921 was the warmest year since 1878. The winter of 1920/21 would be very scant with snow, only 20 inches, 23 inches below average. The next Winter of 1921/22 would be average. Total precipitation in 1921 was below average.
Eloise brought into the Garden a number of plants that are not listed today on the Garden census. Many of these were native to Minnesota and a few were not. Here is a listing of most of those plants introduced this year to the Garden for the first time - the common and botanical names listed first are names she used followed by other common names for the same plant and the newer botanical classifications, if any; then follows her source for the material. 1921 is the first year the following list of plants occur in her log. "Native" indicates the plant is considered native to Minnesota (here at European Settlement time) or if introduced, long established. "Non-native" indicates it is not known to exist in Minnesota in the wild. "Introduced" means not native to North America. "Extant" indicates the plant is present in the Garden today. Botanical classification: Over the years Botanists have reclassified many plants from the classifications in use at the time Eloise Butler wrote her Garden Log or when Martha Crone prepared her census. I have retained the nomenclature that Eloise Butler or Martha Crone used and then provided the more current classification as used by the major listings in use today, particularly Flora of North America, the University of Minnesota's Annotated Checklist of the Vascular Flora of Minnesota, and as a fall-back source - the USDA Plants Database.
The first two plants are problematical, she questioned the identification in her log. Her source was listed as Minnesota, but the exact area blanked out.
Photo top of page: Queen Anne's Lace, introduced to the Garden in 1923 by Eloise Butler. Photo ©G D Bebeau
Garden Log - Native Plant Reserve, Glenwood Park, Minneapolis, MN by Eloise Butler
Martha Crone's Garden Log and her 1951 Census of plants in the Garden.
Various papers and correspondence of Eloise Butler in the collection of the Minnesota Historical Society.
Historical Climatology of Minneapolis-St. Paul Area by Charles Fisk.