This is the seventh year with Gardener Cary George in charge of the Garden.
Note: The issues of the Friend’s Newsletter, The Fringed Gentian™, were numbered out of sequence this year. The correct volume numbers are used in the text. The "as printed" numbers are shown at the bottom of this page.
During the Winter gardener Cary George placed Wood Duck Houses of a new design in Roberts Bird Sanctuary (6) and along Bassett Creek (8) in Wirth Park. The new design allows the bottom to be removed for cleaning and left off over winter so squirrels don’t move in, and then replaced in spring before the ducks arrive.
There was no sign of deer activity in the Garden during the Winter, although last summer a young doe had spent the Summer in the Garden. Wirth Park meanwhile was inundated with deer.
In 1992 The Friends formed a safety committee due to the high incidence of car break-ins at the Garden parking lot - 38 in 1992. The committee met with Parks Police Captain Bill Jacobs on Feb. 25th to request increased patrols.
Martha Hellander’s biography of Eloise Butler, The Wild Gardener was nominated for a Minnesota Book Award - and won. On Mother’s Day, May 9th, Martha was in the Garden from Noon to 4 PM for a book signing.
Cary George reported that the Spring bloom was a little later than normal again this year thanks to the cool Spring weather. But the snow had melted and the Garden had opened on time. He noted that the Park Board in June, planted Walking Fern (photo below) in the Garden, a fern which both Eloise Butler and Martha Crone planted a number of times, but without long-term success. Eloise wrote a humorous essay about acquiring the first specimens in 1908. Read it here. The work on the back gate area, started in 1992, was still continuing. The prairie area was burned and a barred owl was regularly seen on the west trail in the woodland.
The Friends of the Wild Flower Garden held their annual meeting on Saturday May 15, at the Martha Crone Shelter in the Garden with 28 in attendance
Directors elected were: Ken Avery, Rick Bartholomew, Geri Benavides, Harriet Betzold, Betty Bryan, Sallie Cole, Mel Duoos, Connie Bartz-Lavoie, Gloria Miller, Shirley Schultz, Joyce Smeby, Kathryn Stennes, Kathleen Wolgamott.
Elected to their offices at the Board of Directors meeting: Joyce Smeby, President; Harriet Betzold, Vice-President; Kathryn Stennes, Secretary; and Ann kessen, Treasurer.
For committee assignments: Betty Bryan was membership chair, Shirley Schultz was Volunteer coordinator, Sallie Cole was Memorials chair, Richard Bartholomew was Historian, and Kathy Stennes was newsletter editor.
35 volunteers were on the active list. 264 families on the membership list. Elaine Christenson had catalogued and sorted more than 2000 slides that Martha Crone had taken of the Garden and plants.
[NOTE: From 1948 to 1957 Martha Crone assembled a collection of Kodachrome slides that she took of plants and landscape of the Wildflower Garden. The assemblage eventually totaled over 4,000 slides. She used these slides to give illustrated lectures about the Garden to various clubs, groups and organizations. After her death in 1989 her daughter Janet, passed the collection to the Friends via Friends member Martha Hellander who was in the process of researching a book about Eloise Butler. The Friends sorted the collection and then for a short time, used them at lectures about the Garden.]
A rare Lazuli Bunting (Passerina amoena) was sighted near the wetland Highbush Cranberries.
When people raise concerns about Lyme Disease Gardener Cary George reported that in his seven years as Gardener he had never seen a woodtick, nor had Ken Avery in 30 years. The reason for the absence is unexplained.
Two clumps of the Greater Yellow Lady’s-slipper Cypripedium parviflorum Salisb. Var. makasin, were donated by Friends Board member Mel Duoos and Cary planted one near the front gate and another near the Shelter.
A number of species were planted during the season, with several of the unusual ones being Rose Trillium (Trillium catesbaei), Wax Trillium (Trillium erectum var. ablum) and Painted Trillium (Trillium undulatum). Trillum catesbaei had been extensively planted by Martha Crone as early as 1946. Eloise Butler had planted the others, T. erectum var. ablum in 1918 and T. undulatum in 1914 and later. Photos of all three below.
The rebuilding of the pond in the wetland as part of the back fence and gate project has resulted in the introduction of muskrats and their burrow system. Two litters of young were raised this year in the wetland - an unexpected consequence of improving the Garden habitat.
The Friends purchased several granite boulders from Drake Marble for seating near the expanded pond area. Cost - $1,204. The funds came from memorials for Caroline Saunders who had humanitarian interests world wide.
The Friends published and distributed a supplement to their 1992-94 membership roster. Summer visitors to the Garden came from 20 countries and 34 states. Some comments in the visitor book were : “It’s nice to see something in a natural unspoiled state.” “20 years in the Twin Cities - I wish I had known about the Garden sooner.” “The Garden reminds me of my childhood on the farm.”
Below: The three unusual Trilliums planted by Cary George in 1993.
Through the efforts of Friends member and volunteer Elaine Christenson and Cary George, a proposal was to be voted on by the Park Board on Dec. 8th to add an acre to the Upland Garden, increasing the prairie area. The Friends would pay for the cost of the fencing needed to secure the area and had contracted with Able Fence to do so at a cost of $3,695. The Park Board approved.
Elaine wrote about the process, from conception to reality, in the Friends newsletter. Read it here.
Below: Showing a large part of the area added to the Garden. Around the oak tree at far left center in the background are the three granite block seats presented by the Friends in 1995. Photo G D Bebeau.
During the summer Friends volunteer Linda Lee catalogued all the books and periodicals in the Crone Shelter, coming up with a list of over 300 volumes, some of which were damaged and 40 to 70 years old.
An interesting article in the Friends newsletter, The Fringed Gentian™ was to adopt the Chickadee as the state bird, replacing the Loon, then we would have a year-round bird.
The problem with car break-ins, continued during the year - 33 in 1993. In the summer the Friends had gotten signage installed in the parking lot urging visitors to take their valuables with them.
At the end of 1993 the Friends had financial statement assets of $47,800. Revenue for the year was $7,100 with $5,100 from memberships. Expenses were $4,200.
Precipitation for the year use just above the median of 28 inches and snowfall for the upcoming winter of 1993/94 would be just above normal.
Photo top of page: The wetland pool area in the back of the Garden - path with granite seats done in 1992. Photo from 2008 ©G D Bebeau
Meeting Minutes and correspondence of The Friends of the Wild Flower Garden.
Archive of the Friends Newsletter The Fringed Gentian™
- Vol. 41 No.1 April and May 1993, Kathy Stennes, Editor (all issues mislabeled Vol. 43)
- Vol. 41 No.2 June-July-August 1993, Kathy Stennes, Editor
- Vol. 41 No.3 September - October 1993, Kathy Stennes, Editor
- Vol. 41 No.4 December 1993, Kathy Stennes, Editor.
Historical Climatology of Minneapolis-St. Paul Area by Charles Fisk.