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

News Update from the Friends

Sumner Library Project:

Judy Remington at Sumner Library

President Jennifer Olson in April began a display case presentation about the Wildflower Garden at the Minneapolis Sumner Library Branch. The exhibit change seasonally and is maintained by Jennifer and several Friends members. The first display this spring featured some history about Eloise Butler, spring wildflowers and a display of Judy Remington’s glass tiles on spring wildflowers. Judy, a former editor of The Fringed Gentian™, is pictured here next to the display case. The Library is located at 611 Van White Memorial Blvd, (at Olson Highway), Minneapolis.

Friends Mission Funding for 2022:

On January 31, the Friends Board of Directors approved budgeting over $17,000 in 2022 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. The largest part of this will be direct funding for needs in the Garden. Review the “Plants in the Garden” section below. Due to Covid-19, student visits have been off limits. We hope they can resume this summer. More details about how our funding is being used will be on our website as the year progresses, and also included in our monthly newsletter.

New Monthly Informational Emails

We have modified our informational emails that were occasionally sent to email registered members into a month mini-newsletter. This newsletter, now called “Twigs & Branches,” contains several short summaries of articles about plants and the Wildflower Garden plus any news that the Friends wish to share with you. The email has links to more extensive articles should you wish to view them. We began sending these in November 2021. Here is the content of a recent current email.

If you are signed up to receive informational emails from us you need to nothing, they will arrive once a month. If not signed up you may do so by going to our website home page and using the link near the top of the page. If you are already signed up to receive an email notice of a new Fringed Gentian™ issue you will not automatically receive these monthly emails unless you have registered for them. Your email addresses are not shared with anyone.

twigs logo

Membership Rate Changes

It has been 13 years since we increased our basic membership rates. As announced at the Annual Meeting in September and in the Fall Fringed Gentian™, our support rates change on January 1, 2022.

The current basic rates of “Individual” and “Family/Duo” will be combined into a “Basic Membership” rate of $25 per year. “Sponsor” rate will be $100 per year, “Benefactor” rate (formerly “Sustainer”) will be $250 per year and the “Life Member” rate will be a one-time payment of $750. This is the first change to the Benefactor and Life rate since the Friends were founded in 1952. The “Sponsor” rate remains unchanged since 1952. Thank you all for your past support and we welcome your renewed support as we finish our 70th year in 2022.

Plants for the Garden

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. Our budget for 2022 allocates up to $7,500 for plants for the Garden. Your contributions have funded over $50,000 for plants and plant habitat in the 21st century..

Below: New plants being planted by Garden Staff at Eloise Butler.

Shelter Improvement Project

An improvement project for the Martha Crone Shelter was announced back in late 2019, with the Park Board allocating funds for the addition of staff space to the shelter. The Friends were asked to provide funding assistance for a welcome center.

The needs: There is only a small kitchen area in the current shelter that is used for staff space. Most of the staff work is completed in the old gardener’s tool shed. Staffing today at the Garden is significantly different than in the days of Gardener Cary George, when Cary was the only staff. Programs, especially those for young people, have been added over time. Staff and support materials need space plus room to hold a program when adverse weather occurs, which today, forces cancellation.

Since the original proposal, Covid-19 put a hold on moving forward but now construction documentation is being finalized. There are still difficulties to be resolved, especially the current high cost of lumber, scarceness of other building materials and importantly, the extra costs of access to a site which is in a protected area and far from heavy vehicle access. We will know later this year if funds allocated by the MPRB for the project will match construction bids allowing the project to proceed. The Friends Board has begun reserving funds for this project.

Below: The tool shed and current staff headquarters at Eloise Butler.

Garder tool and staff shed

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, 5% of revenue or less, and these expenses are funded from non-contribution revenue. Visit our website if you want to read more about the historical aspects of the Garden and the things the Friends membership has accomplished over the last 70 years.

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

MPRB News:

The newly elected Commissioners of the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB) took office at the beginning of 2022. We are pleased to have back in office Commissioners Meg Forney and Stephanie Musich, who are both strong supporters of the Friends, the Wildflower Garden and the work of the Friends Invasive Plant Action Group (FIPAG). Commissioner Forney has also taken the role of President of the Board.