2015 begins the 108th year of the Garden, it having been founded on April 15, 1907. It would also be the 63rd year for the Friends and Susan Wilkins’ 12th year as Garden Curator.
The first Friends board meeting of the year took place Feb. 9, 2015 at the home of President Pam Weiner. Garden Curator Susan Wilkins reported that Entomologist Elaine Evans has concluded her research at the Garden, having found 104 species of bees other than honey bees. In the first year of the survey she had catalogued 75 species of bees. The honey bees that have been kept in the Garden by Beez Kneez will be moved out and the focus will be on the volunteer bees in the area. More ash trees were removed from the Garden, this time in the wetland area. On the boardwalk project, contractor bids were still much too high. MPRB is going to contract directly with metal manufacturer and with Conservation Corp of Minnesota for installation in mid-summer 2015. Recycled ash wood for the treads is ready to go. It looked like this was the year it would get built.
Newsletter editor Meleah Maynard found a new design professional to volunteer doing layouts for the newsletter - John Toren from Nodin Press. Lauren Husting was looking for a way that volunteers could manage their own shifts on the on-line calendar. A committee was formed to review and restate the Friends bylaws: Gary Bebeau, Jayne Funk, Steve and Sally Pundt.
The date was set for June 25th to have a fundraiser at the restored historic house of Mark Addicks, retired Chief Marketing Officer of General Mills. It would be known as the “Schutt House Event.” Details in the Summer section.
Below: The restored historic Mendon Schutt House where the Friends Summer Garden Event would be held. Photo Anthoy Waldera.
On February 21st, Melissa Hansen and Jayne Funk hosted a Friends table at the Wild Ones conference at the Nicollet Island Inn. Seven new members were obtained.
In early March acceptable bids were secured for framework and installation of the boardwalk. Expected installation - July or August, dedication in September. Conservation Corps Minnesota was to do the installation, the boardwalk sections were ordered from Wickcraft of Madison WI, the heat-treated ash wood was prepared at Arborwood in Duluth. All installation would be under the supervision of Jim Robin, the design architect and David Motzenbecker, both of the Cuningham Group.
The next Friends board meeting was on March 30 at the Kenwood Park Community Center. Based on the early Spring weather there was no doubt that the Garden would open on April 1st. Susan Wilkins noted that the first wildflowers were already visible. The Garden’s program coordinator, Lauren Borer was not returning and Holly Fetzer was taking the position. Mice got into the shelter during the Winter and that problem was being fixed, but the Shelter needed a new roof and that would be done in the Fall.
Gary Bebeau had placed the advance ticket order capability on the website for the Schutt House Event and the first ticket orders had already been received. He also noted that the long recovery in the Friends investments from the 2008 market drop reached its high point last November and the market had not declined again.
Schutt House Event ticket
The Garden opening on time this year on April 1.
The Friends Invasive Plants Action Group (FIPAG) scheduled 5 Garlic Mustard removal events for May and early June. They would concentrate east side and near the back gate - areas just outside the fence.
Lauren Husting held a volunteer orientation on April 22 with 20 attending. For the season, there were 4 new volunteers and 30 returning. By the end of the year there would be 10 new volunteers.
In the Spring issue of The Fringed Gentian™ (Vol. 63, No. 1) President Pam Weiner updated the membership on the Schutt House Event and the Schutt Family's relationship to the Garden.
Susan Wilkins wrote: “Every spring, what feels like a miracle occurs. The days begin to warm and lengthen. We find ourselves dropping layers—mittens, scarves and heavy coats—and stepping out to feel the caress of sunlight on bare skin. When only weeks ago we traveled to and fro with our busy lives cloaked in winter’s dark blanket, now the soft evening light or early morning’s glimmer guides us into our gardens to discover what is emerging from awakened soil. A hint of green under decayed leaves—delight! A flower found in full bloom—pure joy! Tree buds bursting in vibrant hues above our heads—unstoppable! As our planet tilts and spins so steadily along, rested earth gives way to another season of refreshed potential and irrepressible growth. We have arrived and spring is singing.”
Donna Ahrens interviewed Shelter volunteer Kris Felbeck who commented that she still enjoys pulling a chair up to the shelter window to watch the birds at the feeders and building a fire in the fireplace on cooler days. “It’s like having an Up North cabin in the city.” Naturalist Tammy Mercer wrote about the warblers seen in the Garden in the Spring.
Next was the Friends annual meeting, at the Kenwood Park Community Center, 21st and Franklin Ave., Minneapolis on May 17. Susan Wilkins could not attend but in her submitted report she added several requests that the Friends could decide on funding. Boardwalk installation was scheduled. Board member Phoebe Waugh had received the Volunteer of the Year award from the MPRB.
Elected to the Friends Board for the coming year were: Candy Bartol, Colin Bartol, Gary Bebeau, Steve Benson, Jayne Funk, Melissa Hansen, Lauren Husting, Vivian Mason, Meleah Maynard, Gloria Miller, Jennifer Olson, Jim Proctor, Sally Pundt, Steve Pundt, Barry Schade, Anthony Waldera, Phoebe Waugh, Pam Weiner and Susan Wilkins (ex-officio). Sue Budd, left the board.
Gary Bebeau reviewed the financial information and the website. Website page count was now 1,780 with 10,913 photos; 586 plant information sheets, 37 history years complete. Jayne Funk reported on membership: 229 members of which 33 were life and 35 were courtesy.
At the Board of Directors meeting following the annual meeting, the officers elected were: Pam Weiner, President; Melissa Hansen, Vice-president; Secretary, Candy Bartol; Gary Bebeau, Treasurer.
Continuing in committee roles were: Gary Bebeau, Memorials and Website; Lauren Husting, Volunteers; Steve Benson, Money Management; Meleah Maynard Newsletter Editor; Phoebe Waugh, Historian; Jayne Funk, membership; Jim Proctor, Invasive Plant Action Group (Liz Anderson co-chair).
Gary Bebeau presented the draft of the new bylaws for the board to review prior to voting on them at the October board meeting. The board approved offering a three-year membership in the Friends at the Schutt House Event for $100. Also approved was the Garden’s request to fund native tree planting along Geranium Path where a number of Ohio Buckeye’s had been removed to open up the canopy. Estimated cost $3,000 to 5,000.
The big event at the Schutt House took place on the evening of June 25. Mark Addicks opened the house to guests at 5 PM, provided free food and drinks and tours of the house and grounds. Tickets were also sold at the door. There was a silent auction for three special group events: A dinner on the grounds of Kelly and Kelly Nursery who owners were known for such events; tickets to the annual Tangletown Gardens dinner, another well known event; and a brunch and Garden tour with Susan Wilkins and Pam Weiner. After the silent part of the auction, the events would move to a live auction to see if there was further bidding.
The weather that evening was clear and warm. The gardens were beautiful. Advance tickets sold were 205. Ten new members joined. Total proceeds for the evening were $9,205.
Below: Guests enjoying the grounds and the warm evening outside the Schutt House on June 25th. Photos Melissa Hansen.
In the Garden the boardwalk and bridge segment were installed between July 10 and 23rd and opened the public on July 24. Photo G D Bebeau.
In the Summer issue of Friends Newsletter, The Fringed Gentian™ (Vol.63 No. 2) the Garden’s new Program Coordinator Holly Fetzer was interviewed by Donna Ahrens.
Susan Wilkins wrote: “Timeless and essential, the Wildflower Garden is such a place. In our ever-changing world and landscapes, we are fortunate to have such an enduring model for how wild gardens, full of diversity, novelty and surprise, can grow. And grow they must. The Wildflower Garden is an opportune place in our community to connect with the richness of the natural world that we are a part of.”
Naturalist Wes Nugteren wrote a two page article about “The Trees of Eloise Butler.” MPRB Planner Andrea Weber announced the installation of the Boardwalk and the Mallard Pool bridge crossing dedicated to Cary George. [pdf copy of invitation card] FIPAG updated their work.
During the Summer only one school group came to the Garden with bus transportation subsidized by the Student Transportation Grant Program - 20 youngsters from Early Wonders Preschool.
The Park and Recreation Board made a name change to the area surrounding the Garden. The operations manager, Dep Pilger, renamed the area to the "Volunteer Stewardship Area". It had only been 3 years ago the "Preservation Zone" name had been adopted to replace the "Buffer Zone" term which dated back to 1964.
On Sunday Sept. 20, 2015 at 3 PM, Friends, Garden Staff, and invited quests gathered in the Garden to dedicate the new boardwalk and specifically to dedicate the new bridge to Cary George, 4th caretaker of the Garden. Brief comments were made by Friends President Pam Weiner, Garden Curator Susan Wilkins, MPRB Commissioner Anita Tabb and then Cary George. This link is a complete history of the project with more photos.
Below: The Boardwalk dedication. Cary George, 2nd from right, Pam Weiner, right, Susan Wilkins 3rd from right. Photo by Christi Bystedt
The Friends held a Board Meeting on Oct. 5th at the Kenwood Park Community Center. Susan Wilkins reported that MPRB Planner for Wirth Park, Andrea Weber, after being the moving force that finally found contractors for the boardwalk, was leaving her job at MPRB. The Garden’s new program coordinator, Holly Fetzer was also leaving and was being replaced by Kirsten Grohovsky. Over 100 youth and adult groups had visited the Garden this season. After the removal of a number of Ohio Buckeyes last winter, there were more thoughts at the Park Board about removing all of them as they are not native to Minnesota, but they will continue to be managed and not eradicated. Both Eloise Butler and Martha Crone planted the tree. Wild turkeys have been busy in the Garden and are quite destructive, but a permit from the DNR is required to trap them. More ash trees would be removed during the Winter. A new management plan for burning the prairie and controlling invasives in both the Prairie and the wetland was being designed and implemented in the Winter of 2015/2016. The main control issues were buckthorn, reed canary grass, allegheny blackberry, sumac and the re-sprout following a controlled burn, which would now be done 1/3 of the area at a time.
Following the meeting, with the board’s approval, President Pam sent a letter [pdf copy] to Superintendent Jayne Miller committing the Friends to fund the management plan by committing up to $5,750 for the project and by providing up to $3,500 yearly in 2016, 2017 and 2018 for ongoing work, all to be done by Prairie Restorations. Details of plan.
Below: An area of the Upland North hill in May 2016, showing the effects of Sumac being burned off in the Winter of 2015/16 as part of the prairie restoration project. Note the wild turkey near the bench. Photo G D Bebeau.
The trees the Friends had agreed to fund arrive and were planted this fall. Detail of species here. Total cost came to $2,140.
The new draft of the Friends bylaws was presented and approved at the meeting. [pdf copy] The FIPAG has found Oriental Bittersweet in the preservation zone and will removing it and watching for new growth. Meanwhile the area of concentration is the wooded “maple bowl” just SE of the main gate to the Garden. Three invasive pulls were scheduled for September and October.
Below: The area of the Maple Bowl SE of the Garden entrance where FIPAG had begun the work of clearing buckthorn. Photo G D Bebeau.
Jayne Funk summed up the membership at this point: 271 members, 202 annual renewing, 34 life and 35 courtesy members.
The annual volunteer appreciation event was held on October 25th at St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church in South Minneapolis, our fourth year at that facility. The Friends provided beverages, food, door prizes and the Park Board providing desserts and a EBWG water bottle for everyone.
Below: Photos from the 2015 Volunteer Event held at St. Mary's. Photos by Judy Remington.
In the Fall issue of The Fringed Gentian™ (Vol. 63, No. 3) Pam Weiner reviewed the full years events. Donna Ahrens interviewed Phoebe Waugh who had been awarded the 2014 Minneapolis Parks Volunteer of the Year Award. Susan Wilkins reviewed all the Garden happenings. The Boardwalk dedication, the Schutt House Event and the Volunteer Event were all covered in a special 12 page issue.
The Friends ended the year with assets of $84,000. Revenue in this fundraising year was $32,500 of which membership revenue was $6,100, memorials were $2,300, special donations were $16,100. Expenses were $8,300, $2,140 to the Park Board for the tree planting project, $5,150 to the Park Board for the restoration effort, $325 was spent on Student Transportation Grants, and $385 on miscellaneous projects.
The significant donations this year were: $3,000 from the McNerney Charitable Remainder Trust and the proceeds from the Schutt House Event. New name plates were placed on the Eliason Honor Board in the shelter for memorials: Dorothy & Stephen Pawlcyn, Judith Nelson. Jean Lyttle, Glenda Larson, and Bennett Lowry Busselman. “In-honor-of” plates were placed for: the Marriage of Devorah Herman & Edward Juda, Mark Addicts & Tom Hoch, Arla Carmichiel & Steve Kelley.
The Friends website count of total visitors during the year was 44% above the prior year. and all back issued of The Fringed Gentian™ were now on the site.
Weather: The Garden opened on time with all snow gone in March. Snowfall in the Fall was minimal, but the Garden season was wet and annual precipitation was about 6 inches above average.
Photo top of page: The Boardwalk dedication on Sept. 20, 2015. Photo Melissa Hansen.
Meeting Minutes and correspondence of The Friends of the Wild Flower Garden.
Historical Climatology of Minneapolis-St. Paul Area by Charles Fisk.