Friends volunteers prepare Gaylord Nelson Memorial Garden for a vibrant summer display

Volunteers tend the Gaylord Nelson Memorial Garden - Bob Jauch photo

June 6, 2024

The Gaylord Nelson Memorial Garden outside of National Park Service headquarters in Bayfield is ready to put on a vibrant show this summer, thanks to volunteers with Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

The volunteers gathered on a sunny day in late May to remove weeds, invasive species and debris from the prior growing season, to give the desired plant species the room to grow and bloom.

Volunteers tend the Gaylord Nelson Memorial Garden - Bob Jauch photo
Volunteers tend the Gaylord Nelson Memorial Garden - Bob Jauch photo

Volunteers tend the Gaylord Nelson Memorial Garden – Bob Jauch photos

During last fall’s garden clean-up, volunteer Erica Peterson said, “We started a nursery in the garden so that next year we can add a few more species, and move others around.” She said volunteers were surprised at how well certain species, like butterfly milkweed, sweet fern and asters, did despite the dry weather last summer. 

When you visit the garden, you will see new signs identifying the flowers ranging from Pasque Flower (Anemone patens) to Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium reptans) and Red (wild) Columbine. The flowers are representative of the wild flowers found in the Apostle Islands. 

Gaylord Nelson Garden and plant signs - Jon Okerstrom photo

The garden with plant identification signs at dusk – Jon Okerstrom photo

The garden, established in 2006, serves as a living legacy to Wisconsin Senator and Governor Gaylord Nelson who helped inspire Earth Day in 1970 and in the same year led the effort to establish the Apostle Islands as a National Lakeshore. 

Our air, water, soil, forests, oceans, rivers, lakes, scenic beauty, wildlife habitat, minerals, that is the wealth of the country.

Gaylord Nelson

Team photo - Friends volunteers work in Gaylord Nelson Memorial Garden - Bob Jauch photo

Friends volunteers gather for a team photo

We’re always looking for Friends to volunteer for a wide variety of activities. Sign up here if you’re interested. You can visit the garden outside of park headquarters at 415 Washington Avenue in Bayfield.

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