Friends of the Wild Flower Garden

Spring Prairie

For 65 years - Dedicated to Protecting, Preserving and Promoting
The interests of The Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary

Garden Plant of the Week

Yellow Birch

Yellow Birch
Betula alleghaniensis Britton

The Yellow Birch is a long-lived birch, native to Minnesota and indigenous to the Wildflower Garden. The bark is smooth shiny reddish-brown that separates into papery curly strips and with age becomes tan to golden-yellowish or silver gray. introduction of synthetics great quantities of Birch Oil, (Oil of Wintergreen) was extracted from the Yellow and the Sweet Birch to flavor candies and medicine. Glands on twigs, in the pith, and on leaves give off the wintergreen aroma when crushed. While not as smooth as Black Birch, it takes on a good finish in cabinetry. In older times it was used for the underwater frames of vessels and for cask hoops.


Natural History Note

Birches: "Each catkin, one inch long by a quarter wide, contains about one thousand seeds, which would suffice to plant an acre of land with birches seven feet apart each way. No doubt many single trees contain seed enough to plant all the old fields in Concord several times over. . . . The seed is so small, and so exceedingly light and chaffy, that it does not fall to the earth in a perfect calm without many gyrations; and when there is considerable wind, it floats on it almost like a mote - disappearing at once from your sight like those little insects which the Indians call 'no-see-'ems'." Henry Thoreau, from the The Dispersion of Seeds.

A Seasonal Poem

But in my heart I feel the life of the wood and the meadow
Thrilling the pulses that own kindred with fibres that lift
Bud and blade to the sunward, within the inscrutable shadow,
Deep in the oak’s chill core, under the gathering drift.

Nay, to earth's life in mine some prescience, or dream, or desire
(How shall I name it aright?) comes for a moment and goes
Rapture of life ineffable, perfect – as if in the brier,
Leafless there by my door, trembled a sense of the rose

Taken from "Earliest Spring" by
William Dean Howells 1837-1920

Friends' Campaign 175

Fund raising for phase 2 of the Garden Boardwalk
Details Here for Information on How You Can Help.

Garden Boardwalk

Natural Springs in and near the Garden

Great Medicine Spring

Article: The natural springs of the area near the Garden are described with historical and contemporary photos and first hand accounts the springs.