Friends of the Wild Flower Garden

Front Gate of Eloise Butler

For 62 years - Dedicated to Protecting, Preserving and Promoting
The interests of The Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary

Student Transportation Grant


The Friends provide a subsidy to a selected class of students who are unable to pay any or all of the cost of transportation for the class visit. So Far over 2,900 students have benefited. Read more. .

Eloise Butler Plant Community


The Garden is host to over 600 native plant species with habitat varying from marsh to woodland to prairie and Oak savanna. For photos and species - read more. .

Common Winter Birds

Female Downy Woodpecker

A photo selection of the most common winter birds in Central Minnesota

10, 25, 50, 75, 100 years ago

old historic cabin

A brief review of the winter season of 2005, 1990, 1965, 1940 and 1915, details . . .

Clinton Odell

He was instrumental in founding The Friends of the Wild Flower Garden in 1952. Read more. .

clinton odell

Eloise Butler

Eloise Butler

in 1915 she wrote about wild plants and fruits that children used to eat in her generation. Read more. .

Garden Plant of the Week


Celtis occidentalis L.

The Hackbery is one of Minnesota's major landscape trees. It is indigenous to the Garden and Susan Wilkins recently planted more. It is in the Elm Family and produces its seed inside a fleshy drupe that can be orange-red to dark purple at maturity, which some say is sweet and edible but Thoreau called it "dry and repulsive." Wildlife like it however. More plant info. .


Historical Seasonal Thoughts

My vicinity affords many good walks; and though for so many years I have walked almost every day, and sometimes for several days together, I have not yet exhausted them. An absolutely new prospect is a great happiness, and I can still get this any afternoon. Two or three hours’ walking will carry me to as strange a country as I expect ever to see. A single farmhouse which I had not seen before is sometimes as good as the dominions of the King of Dahomey. There is in fact a sort of harmony discoverable between the capabilities of the landscape within a circle of ten miles’ radius, or the limits of an afternoon walk, and the threescore years and ten of human life. It will never become quite familiar to you. Henry Thoreau, 1862 from, Walking.

A Seasonal Poem

HOW small a tooth hath mined the season’s heart!
How cold a touch hath set the wood on fire,
Until it blazes like a costly pyre
Built for some Ganges emperor, old and swart,
Soul-sped on clouds of incense! Whose the art
That webs the streams, each morn, with silver wire,
Delicate as the tension of a lyre,—
Whose falchion pries the chestnut-bur apart?
It is the Frost, a rude and Gothic sprite,
Who doth unbuild the Summer’s palaced wealth,
And puts her dear loves all to sword or flight;
Yet in the hushed, unmindful winter’s night
The spoiler builds again with jealous stealth,
And sets a mimic garden, cold and bright.


"Frost" by
Edith Matilda Thomas (1854–1925)