NATIVE PLANT RESTORATION
The Great North American Prairie was once our continent's largest, most biodiverse ecosystem. Today, less than one tenth of a percent remains prairie in Minnesota. The 20-acre Bennett-Johnson Prairie, planted in 1968, was among the first constructed prairies worldwide. Today, this thriving prairie is home to a variety of tall grasses, an oak savanna, a wet prairie and an array of wildflowers that bloom from spring through fall. To ensure its integrity, Arboretum staff burn one third of the prairie annually to minimize inter-species competition and stimulate seed germination. This ongoing project remains a keystone component of the Arboretum's commitment to environmental preservation.
Grace B. Dayton Woodland Wildflower Garden
Opened in 1960, the Wildflower Garden is a showcase for the increasingly endangered native plants of the Upper Midwest. Among the many native blooms are the Dwarf Trout Lily, the Virginia Bluebell, the Trillium, the Cardinal Flower and the Minnesota state flower: the Showy Lady Slipper. Visitors of the Arboretum can also find more orchids blooming in the Wildflower Garden than any other public outdoor garden in Minnesota. The garden has undergone major changes over the decades and has faced challenges due to the loss of canopy from Dutch elm disease and a major blow-down from a violent storm in the 1970s.
Spring Peeper Meadow Wetlands
Originally slated to become an industrial park, the Meadow was acquired by the Arboretum in 1995 and has since become the country's first restoration project of a sedge meadow on a tiled cornfield. Thanks to the work of Dr. Sue Galatowitsch and her team, the 30-acre wetland has become internationally recognized for cutting-edge data collection and restoration techniques. Now a safe haven for Minnesota birds, butterflies and other wetland creatures, Spring Peeper Meadow is a model restoration project replicated by public and private agencies in communities around the country.
For more information about these gardens click here.