Friends of the Wild Flower Garden

Upland Garden

Now in our 66th year - Dedicated to Protecting, Preserving and Promoting
The interests of The Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary

Garden Plant of the Week

New Jersey Tea
Ceanothus americanus L.

Of New Jersey Tea, Eloise Buter wrote: "This plant has historic interest as well as refined beauty. It is well that it grows in prodigal masses in wide distribution. For, after the Boston Tea Party, a brew of the leaves of the Ceanothus plenished the teapots of our revolutionary forebears."

New Jersey Tea is a small native perennial woody shrub, growing to 3 feet in height on green stems with fine hair. Stems branch in the upper part and the bases become woody with age. It is drought tolerant and does best in full sun with well drained soils. It grows from a deep reddish taproot. When burned off in prairie areas, it re-sprouts energetically from the roots. The numerous tiny flowers, with skinny petals, all on long stalks in a round umbel give, as Eloise said, the appearance of "sea foam and mist."


Historical Natural History Quote

Massachusetts clergyman Manasseh Cutler wrote in 1774: "The leaves of this shrub [New Jersey Tea] have been much used by the common people, in some parts of the country, in the form of India tea; and is, perhaps, the best substitute the country affords. They immerse the fresh leaves in a boiling decoction of the leaves and branches of the same shrub, and then dry them with a gentle heat. The tea, when the leaves are cured in this way, has an agreeable taste, and leaves a roughness on the tongue somewhat resembling that of the bohea tea."

A Seasonal Poem

The hills are faint in a cloudy blue,
That loses itself where the sky bends over,
The wind is shaking the orchard thro’,
And sending a quiver thro’ knee-deep clover.

The air is sweet with a strange perfume,
That comes from the depths of the woodland places,
The fields are hid in a wealth of bloom,
And white with the sweep of the ox-eye daisies!

And farther down, where the brook runs thro’,
Where the ferns are cool in the prisoned shadow,
We still may see, thro’ the morning dew,
The swell and dip of the daisied meadow.

And then when the wind across it blows,
And the wavering lines of silver follow,
We catch the gleam of her heart of gold,
While over her skims the fleet-winged swallow.

Clear and simple in white and gold,
Meadow blossom of sunlit spaces, -
The field is full as it well can hold
And white with the drift of the ox-eye daisies!

"Daisies" by
Elaine Goodale Eastman (1863 - 1953)

Phase Two of the Garden Boardwalk

The Friends need your help! Phase One of the Garden's Boardwalk was dedicated in 2015 and has won three landscape architecture awards. Phase One only covered one-third of the wetland area that needs a firm boardwalk surface.

Your donation can help us continue the boardwalk further into the wetland.

All funds The Friends raise will go toward the construction of Phase Two of the Garden's Wetland Boardwalk. You can walk on the award-winning completed Phase I portion to see wetland plants and visualize where Phase II will complete this beautiful and functional walkway over the entire Wetland.

Please consider making a donation to this critical Garden project. Details on the boardwalk, and how to donate at this link.

Garden Boardwalk