This is the 15th year with Gardener Cary George in charge of the Garden.
A year of weather contrasts: A winter of much snow, the wettest April on record to date, and the warmest November on record.
The winter of 2000-2001 was quite similar to 1985-1986 in that after the new year, temperatures fluctuated above and below the average range in a normal manner and snowfalls continued such that there was no period without snow cover from January 1st until the beginning of April. In fact snow depth began the year at 14 inches and increased to a peak of 22 inches in early March. There were no significant snowfalls after mid-March. Thus, like 1985-86, the plants in the Garden were well insulated from the freeze-thaw cycle that could prove so ruinous in some years.
In the Friends' newsletter, The Fringed Gentian™, President Steve Pundt wrote in early February “this has been a tough winter.” MaryLynn Pulscher, at that time Environmental Education Director for the Park Board, wrote about the upcoming new Garden Guide Book which would be available in the Spring of 2001, for which The Friends provided part of the funding. The existing guidebook was first printed in 1987 and reprinted a number of times. Naturalist Susan Wilkins (became Garden Curator in 2004) rewrote the text and the illustrations would be all new, created by Mark Muller, a botanical illustrator, and they would be in color.
Cary George wrote about signage in the Garden. Signs were 2" x 4" and of routed plastic laminate - weatherproof, impressive and unobtrusive. They maintained a Garden tradition that both common and scientific plant names would always be used.
Cary’s philosophy on plant signs was that the first good specimen that a visitor would encounter on a Garden walk should be labeled so that the visitor could test their identification skills thereafter. Exceptions to this rule were the popular showy wildflowers - these he would always label as they were the plants that naturalists and visitors were constantly asking about. In addition to plants, another thing secreted into the pockets of some visitors were these plant identification signs. Cary was always making new ones to replace those stolen. Most frequently stolen: "Bastard Toadflax" and "No Picking."
Also in the Winter issue of the newsletter a list of native plant and seed suppliers was provided and the volunteer spotlight was on Lyle Johnson who was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Friends.
At the Board of Directors meeting of the Friends on January 22nd, there was discussion about Heritage Tree nominations in the City of Minneapolis’ Heritage Tree Program. The Garden already had nine trees registered in the program and there was discussion on whether any others, particularly of cultural significance, rather than size, should be nominated. Under consideration was the Winterberry dedicated to former Gardener Ken Avery.
Two Garden projects were re-approved for Friends funding, both had been selected and voted on in 2000. Funded were new patio area benches and funding for some trail reconstruction work that had been accomplished the previous autumn after the Garden closed.
Total cost for materials on the two projects was $6,300. Tree Trust provided the labor on the trail work and Park workers installed the benches. (Photos below) These benches match those that were installed by the Park & Recreation Board in the Roberts Bird Sanctuary. Discussion also continued of what to do for a more permanent Ken Avery Dedication. In the off season for Garden activities, one of Gardener Cary George’s duties was maintaining wood duck boxes throughout the Park System. He and gardener Tom Vogen monitored wood duck houses from 1987 onwards. By 2001 they were maintaining 85 throughout the city. Two training sessions for volunteers for the Martha Crone Shelter were held in March at the Wirth Park Chalet. The Garden was scheduled to re-open on April 1st.
The Garden re-opened for the season on April 1st and the weather was fairly average for the month except in regards to rain - it rained! April 2001 became the wettest April in weather history down to the present day (2020). At 7.0 inches, rainfall beat the previous record of 5.88 inches in April 1986. One rainfall alone was 2.25 inches. Wet weather continued into the early summer.
When the Garden opened, the three new benches in the patio area in front of the Martha Crone Shelter had been installed and there were new timbers installed on the trail leading down to the Woodland Area. (see photos above in the Winter section).
The 48th annual membership meeting of the Friends of the Wild Flower Garden was held in the Garden at the Martha Crone Shelter on May 12th. Directors elected were: Gary Bebeau (new), Steve Benson, Harriet Betzold, Joy Davis, Launa Ellison (new), Ann Godfrey, Marguerite Harbison, Lyle Johnson, Juanita Lussenhop, Lisa Locken, Gloria Miller, Steve & Sally Pundt, Shirley & Jack Schultz, Pam Weiner (new). Ex-officio - Cary George.
At the board meeting following the annual meeting Steve Pundt was reelected President, Lyle Johnson was reelected Vice President, Juanita Lussenhop was reelected Secretary and Gary Bebeau was elected Treasurer. Lisa Locken continued as editor of the Friends newsletter, The Fringed Gentian™; Joy Davis as membership chair, Harriet Betzold and Shirley Schultz as volunteer coordinators, Marguerite Harbison as memorials chair, Stephen Benson on money management, and Gloria Miller as historian. Jeff Lee represented the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board.
President Steve Pundt gave a brief history of the Garden, followed by Gardener Cary George who reviewed the state of the Garden, concentrating on the problem with invasive species. Jeff Lee added that the entire Park system has this problem. It was noted that there are currently 240 members of The Friends, of which 30 have been members for more than 25 years.
In The Spring issue of The Fringed Gentian™ Friends President Steve Pundt praised the new Guidebook which was now available. The Friends had contributed $7,000 of the $28,000 total cost. People for Parks gave $4,000 and the remainder was funded by the Park Board. Cost per copy was $4.10 and the book was available for sale at the Martha Crone Shelter.
Naturalist Debbie Keyes (photo above at right) wrote that a new seasonal checklist to document birds in the Garden area had been created and individual copies could be obtained at the Shelter. Birds were an important theme of this issue. Steve Pundt wrote of how Eloise Butler kept records of her bird sightings and that the words “and Bird Sanctuary” are part of the Garden’s name. [Added at the request of The Friends in 1968]
Cary George wrote an article about Wood Ducks and the job he has in off season months on maintaining and increasing the number of Wood Duck houses on Park Board properties (photo above in "Winter"). He also listed this past Spring’s bloom dates for eight spring wildflowers and gave the comparison to last year (2000) and the historical record of earliest bloom date. None of the eight met a record in either 2000 or 2001.
Naturalist Sarah Gordon reviewed the many educational programs available for young people at the Garden (photo at right). The volunteer spotlight this issue was on longtime volunteer Marie Demler, who has volunteered at the Martha Crone Shelter since the 1970s (photo above).
During the Spring The Friends received their first support distribution or annual grant (of $278) from the Mendon Schutt Family Fund, courtesy of long time Friends member Elizabeth Schutt. [Detials on the link]
During the summer the weather was on the warm side with a number of daily temperature maximums above the average, but with a lot of rain in June, good rain in July and less in August. Gardener Cary George reported that it was a good growing season.
The Garden was busy with visitors and tours and programs offered by the Staff Naturalists. The deer that had been in the Garden at various times and in various numbers up to four (photo), were now no more than one. Summer is the time to detail projects that can improve the Garden and Jeff Lee, Environmental Operations Manager for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, was working on a number of project developments that the Friends might help fund, including a new wrought iron fence near the back gate.
In the Summer issue of the Friend's newsletter, The Fringed Gentian™, invasive plants were in the spotlight. President Steve Pundt wrote about Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata), its history, and its effect on the Garden. Jeff Lee wrote about the successful management of Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) by using a biological control - beetles - that feed on loosestrife and prevent flowering. His example was the treatment of Birch Pond beginning in 1997. By 2000 the pond was free of any flowering loosestrife.
The volunteer spotlight was on Pam Weiner (photo right) who also was just elected to the Friends Board at this years annual meeting. (Pam would in later years become President of the Friends). Gary Bebeau contributed an article on Rattlesnake-root (Prenanthes alba) and its use in medicine by Native Americans and by the earlier settlers.
Gardener Cary George wrote a philosophical article on the “State of the Garden.” He wrote:
"I think, the true “State of the Garden” should be examined not by plant surveys, programming, and architectural adornments, but by asking the question, “Is the primary purpose of the Garden - to comprehend the grace of nature - still valid?” My contention is that more so than ever, a sanctuary that protects all life, both human and non-human, should be a touchstone for living our daily lives, not just a quaint natural history lesson."
The work done in prior years at the Great Medicine Spring was not paying off. Water flow had declined from the initial good flow and the purity of the water was in question. In addition, landscape work around the new well construction site still had to be finished.
Below: Volunteer Connie Pepin with one of the young deer enjoying the peace of the Garden. Friends photo.
At the September 10th Board meeting of The Friends, it was agreed that the Friends would fund the cost of materials for further trail re-construction work that would take place in the fall after the Garden closed. This was not to exceed $4,000. This trail work, similar to that done the prior year near the front gate, would replace old railroad ties with new timber on the path from the Shelter patio area down to the wetland trail in the Woodland Garden. Tree Trust completed the work after the Garden closed.
It was decided at the board meeting that the Friends newsletter, The Fringed Gentian™, should always display a trademark on all future issues.
On October 27th, The Friends hosted a luncheon at the Golden Valley American Legion Club for all 2001 Shelter volunteers.
In The Fringed Gentian™, Friends President Steve Pundt reviewed plans for next years 50th Anniversary of The Friends of the Wild Flower Garden. It would be a celebration at the Garden along with the publication of a book of memories. Pam Weiner chaired the Anniversary Committee and the committee was soliciting individual stories about the Friends first 50 years.
Gardener Cary George wrote about the bog in the Woodland Garden - about its unique history and its significance in the Garden. Newsletter editor Lisa Locken reviewed a new handheld device for listening to bird songs. The device had over 100 bird recordings to play. Gary Bebeau contributed an article on Indian Hemp with its background in medicine and Native American Lore.
The Volunteer spotlight was on Constance Pepin (photo right) who would later join the Board of the Friends. Twenty one volunteers give their time during the season to work at the Martha Crone Shelter. Twelve new members joined the Friends during the year.
Fall weather was very warm from mid-October until the winter solstice with temperatures on many days 15 to 20 degrees above average. It was the warmest November in weather history to the current date (2020) by more than 4 degrees F. There were 57 consecutive days of above normal temperature from late October to late December. There were good rains in September, but then it was dry with only one significant snowfall around Thanksgiving and then very little until the weather cooled at the end of December.
Photo top of page: A view of the wetland area of the Woodland Garden in April 2009 Photo ©G D Bebeau
Meeting Minutes and correspondence of The Friends of the Wild Flower Garden.
Archive of the Friends Newsletter The Fringed Gentian™
Vol. 49, # 1 Winter 2001, Lisa Locken, Editor
Vol. 49, # 2, Spring 2001, Lisa Locken, Editor
Vol. 49, # 3, Summer 2001, Lisa Locken, Editor
Vol. 49, # 4, Autumn 2001, Lisa Locken, Editor
Historical Climatology of Minneapolis-St. Paul Area by Charles Fisk.