New outdoor destination: Linda Ulland Memorial Gardens

Among the features of the Linda Ulland Memorial Gardens is this crawl-through caterpillar, created by local artist Josh Porter. Photo courtesy of the Linda Ulland Memorial Gardens Facebook page.

In honor of a late community member who gave her all in her volunteerism, a beautiful flower garden for the community is being constructed at the Army Corps of Engineers Cross Lake Recreation Area (location). The Linda Ulland Memorial Gardens, celebrating a grand opening this Friday, will be an environmental, educational and natural destination for all ages.

Just outside the Crosslake Campground, and within view of Crosslake's iconic Pine River dam, the gardens will be divided into several sections, each with different environmental themes and educational aspects. Those will include areas of deer-resistant plantings, forest foraging gardens to show the woods' bounty, butterfly gardens, a rain garden, a house garden and Paul Bunyan's footprints.

The house garden will have houses for all sorts of wildlife placed in the garden, including houses for bees, bats, toads, beneficial insects, and much more.

Master Naturalist Peggy Fowler helped create this panel of insect houses at the Linda Ulland Memorial Gardens. See the finished product at the gardens' grand opening May 19. Photo courtesy of the Linda Ulland Memorial Garden Facebook page.

Children will enjoy the big, crawl-through caterpillar at the garden, made by local artist Josh Porter. A nearby statue of a chrysalis and a butterfly bench complete an illustration of a butterfly's life cycle.

Rain gardens, like the one at the Linda Ulland Memorial Gardens, have become an important part of lake health. They divert rainwater runoff into a small pond or wetland, where the water can filter through the soil before it enters the lake. The natural filtering of the ground helps keep the lakes healthy and clear.

As progress on the garden continues, more interactive features will be added, including two talking boxes. The talking boxes will have audio playback of stories that will both educate and entertain. The two talking boxes will include the "logger's outhouse," which was recently delivered to the gardens, and a scaled-down version of a gate from the original wooden dam.

The woman for whom the gardens are named, Linda Ulland, was a volunteer for the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway from its inception. The byway is a series of roads around the Whitefish Chain that are scenic and include several stops where you can learn about both the truth and the lore of the Whitefish Area. Ulland helped write the guiding documents for the byway and was a member of the byway's board for many years. Ulland passed away in 2011 after a battle with cancer, but her memory lives on in the new gardens and in the byway itself.

The grand opening for the gardens will be this Friday, May 19, at 1 p.m. The celebration will include a ribbon cutting, short speech, recognition of partners and donors, and garden tours! The gardens as well as the learning center exhibit room will be open until 4 p.m.

You can support the gardens by purchasing a commemorative garden paver that will be placed in one of the walkways through the garden. The pavers are engravable and available to businesses, individuals and groups. Memorialize a birth, wedding or special individual; inspire others with a rhyme, quote or phrase; or promote your business. Buy a paver as a gift or leave your message in the garden as a legacy. Pavers are $60 each. Visit the Linda Ulland Memorial Gardens website for more information. Keep up to date with all the latest news about the gardens on the same website or on Facebook.

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