Mow it, pick it or replant it, please

Letters to the editor, Washburn County Register – September 8, 2010

by Lauralei Anderson, Shell Lake Alumni, Cumberland

This was the bad press received from a critic of natural habitat.

Over the last few years, I have to commend the city of Shell Lake for taking pride in the appearance of this little city. This has been accomplished by doing improvements such as the storefront renovations, the beautiful hanging baskets that adorn the light poles and the well-groomed lawns of the beach/pavilion walkways.

The last two  Registers have featured articles of two different area gardens. Two weeks ago featured the cut little village garden by te Washburn County Historical Society, with it beautifully weeded perennials, welcoming visitors from the south end of town. Last week’s feature was of the twilight garden at the Spooner Ag Station, with its sweet sitting benches and well-groomed plants. So, I was wondering if this week’s paper was going to feature the butterfly garden on the north end of town? However, I could probably answer my own question with a solid “No.” Why write a feature about an over-grown railroad bed?

So this brings me to the meat of my letter. Why do we keep seeing this unkempt, fence-in weed patch year after year? Yes, you I know that it was designed to attract butterflies, but on close inspection we see scant black-eyed Susan’s and nothing more than wild weeds and few bugs! Couldn’t we find some eye-appealing greenery that attracts butterflies as well as scenic onlookers, making it more welcoming than a back-40 field that needs to be hayed?

It amazes me that this has been allowed to go on for as long as it has. When looking at the area on the old railroad tracks, we see sitting benches that are longing to be sat on, a grown over walking path and a very nice pergola that is vacant. Mostly, I think, because of the lack of care and the uninviting appearance of the place.

So I ask whomever is in charge of this “Garden of Weed-en”…Could you mow it, pick it or replant it and make this sanctuary as welcoming to people as well as our six-legged, winged friends.

I am hoping that letter will spark those of you who agree with me, that have been quiet about this eyesore, to speak up and ask for a little more improvement to this pretty little city.

Happy Tonics officers and board of directors will address this article in this week’s paper if the Editor chooses to publish our response.


  1. Is there an online map of Wisconsin Monarch trails so we may know where to find them roosting in trees near us? I am aware of the Wauwatosa sight which says they follow the rivers. Well, I live near a river but am not aware of the viewing sites.


    1. Greetings, Yes monarchs follow rivers and roads because they have a clear view of where they are migrating to from these clearings across the landscape. The only map I know of is provided by Monarch Watch. Monarchs were in Wisconsin through September 12. There may be a few strays but most are headed south right now. You can see the migration map and Wisconsin at

      I too have heard of monarchs by the thousands resting in trees as they migrate through Wisconsin. Some have reported apple orchid sightings and others about trees where they live. I have not seen the mass migration from Wisconsin. We did see lots of monarchs the last two weeks of August and first two weeks of September at the Monarch Butterfly Habiat in Shell Lake, WI. Remember monarchs don’t fly when it is below 55 degrees.

      Here is another link for you to find out about all the national butterfly associations at Much success in learning about Wisconsin’s monarch migration. Thanks for contacting Happy Tonics, Inc. your butterfly friends in Shell Lake, WI.


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