Friends of the Wild Flower Garden

Fall upland landscape

For 64 years - Dedicated to Protecting, Preserving and Promoting
The interests of The Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary

The Garden season is April 1 to Oct. 15.

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Recent Friends' Garden Projects

President's Recent Letter (pdf)

Garden Curator's Recent Notes (pdf)

Current Postings

Links to other sites

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Fall 2016 Invasive Plant Removal Schedule is now posted

Garden Plant of the Week

Silky Aster

Silky Aster
Symphyotrichum sericeum Vent.

Eloise Butler wrote in 1915 "If I have any special favorite, it is Aster sericeus [older botanical name]. The flowers are lilac tinted, a shade peculiar to themselves, and the contrast with the silky, pale foliage is altogether charming. It is abundant on the hillsides just outside of the garden and I have introduced it in large quantities." This is a native aster of the old central plains area of North America, becoming rare in certain parts, particularly Indiana and Michigan and in Canada. It's a low plant with zig-zaggy stems and 1-1/4 inch flowers, large for the size of the plant. The leaves have a silky silvery tint.


Natural History Note

"The transient beauty of the flowers - that blooming of the plant world that J.H. Fabre, the French naturalist, once referred to as a “frail magnificience” - has now largely left the fields. Today I walk among seeds where once I walked among flowers. Remembering the long succession of the summer blooms, I recall many of their common names, repeating them just for the pleasure of the sound, just for the enjoyment of the picturesque and imaginative designations they have received." Edwin Way Teale, 1978 from A Walk Through the Year.

A Seasonal Poem

For drab it is its fondest must admit.
And yes, although it is a flower that flows
With milk and honey, it is bitter milk,
As anyone who ever broke its stem
And dared to taste the wound a little knows.
It tastes as if it might be opiate.
But whatsoever else it may secrete,
Its flowers’ distilled honey is so sweet|
It makes the butterflies intemperate.
There is no slumber in its juice for them.
One knocks another off from where he clings.
They knock the dyestuff off each other’s wings–
With thirst on hunger to the point of lust.

Taken from "Pod of the Milkweed" by
Robert Frost (1874 - 1963)

Boardwalk Dedication - one year ago this month.

Photos & history On Sept. 20, 2015 Friends, Garden Visitors and Park Board staff and commissioners gathered to dedicate a section of the new wetland boardwalk in honor of the previous Gardener, Cary George. .

Asters and Goldenrods in the Garden

Photo Page of the Autumn asters and goldenrods in the Garden.