Gardens: Where to Find Butterflies in the Puget Sound Area

Thank you David B Williams for creating this list of gardens with butterflies in the Puget Sound area.

Although butterflies are less common in the Puget Sound area than on the eastern side of the Cascades, they are here if you take the time to look. The key requirements for butterflies are flowers for nectaring and host plants for egg laying. Below is a list of gardens in the area that meet these requirements. Some are devoted specifically to butterflies and others simply are rich in flowers and potential host plants. In particular, Seattle’s abundant P-Patches fit the second category.

P-Patches in Seattle

Demonstration Landscapes funded by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife
Heron Park
Partner: City of Mill Creek
Location: Village Green Drive and 155th Street SE, Mill Creek
Description: A 3/4 mile loop trail through a remnant coniferous forest. An interpretive handout describes the wetland boardwalk and butterfly and hummingbird demonstration gardens. A recipient of the MAME award.

Genesee Park
Partner: Seattle Parks and Recreation
Location: Genesee Park, 4420 S Genesee Street, Seattle
Description: Former creek valley filled in with Seattle solid waste. Native trees, shrubs, and other plants have been planted on berms created in the grassland. The project also includes down wood, a constructed snag, interpretive signs, and rain shelters.

Carkeek Park Environmental Education Center
Partner: Seattle Parks and Recreation
Location: 950 NW Carkeek Park Road, Seattle
Description: A Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary demonstration project that includes native woodland landscapes around the new Environmental Education complex. Other features include a planted hedgerow, a managed meadow, a snag creation, and a bat box survey project.

Lake Hills Greenbelt Ranger Station
Partner: Bellevue Parks and Recreation
Location: 15416 SE 16th Street (next to Phantom Lake), Bellevue
Contact: Ranger Station 425-452-7225
Description: Ornamental gardens planted with a combination of native and non-native plants to attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and other flying pollinators. Site also features a concrete pond and waterfall, nest boxes for native cavity-nesting songbirds, and a bat house survey. Native plants have been added to the surrounding woodland edges. Information is available in the ranger station.

Auburn City Park Wildlife and Water Conservation Gardens
Partner: City of Auburn
Location: 405 E Street NE, Auburn
Description: A two-acre portion of this traditional savanna-style landscape has been planted with native and non-native plants in various exposures. The project also includes logs, rustic benches, nest boxes, a gazebo, interpretive signs, and an artificial seep.

Other Areas suggested by well-known butterfly gardener Claire Hagen Dole:

Bradner Gardens
Location: 29th Avenue S and S Grand Street (in the Rainier Valley), Seattle
Description: Cheryl Petterson is the Master Gardener who helped create a butterfly/hummingbird garden. It is described on p. 171 in Nature in the City (Mountaineers Books, by Maria Dolan and Kathryn True).

Center for Urban Horticulture Demonstration Gardens
Location: 3501 NE 41st Street, Seattle
Description: at the University of Washington. There are flyers at CUH.

Seattle Tilth Garden at Meridian Park.
Location: N 45th and Meridian Ave N, Seattle
Description: Great beneficial insect garden, and I often see butterflies there. The Children’s Garden is located just west of the main building and the Demonstration Garden is just south of that.

Woodland Park Zoo
Location: South Entrance located at N 50th and Fremont Ave N, Seattle, WA
Contact: 206-684-4800
Description: There is a butterfly garden near the Family Farm, and by the butterfly house.

Other butterfly locales:

Bellevue Botanical Garden
Location: 12001 Main Street, Bellevue
Contact: 425-452-2750

Seattle Pacific University
Location: 3307 Third Avenue West, Seattle
Description: has several gardens including a new butterfly garden. Bursting with color, this new campus garden brims with butterfly-friendly nectar plants that attract several varieties of butterflies to this sunny area of campus.

Magnuson Park
Partner: Seattle Parks and Recreation
Location: 7400 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle
Description: has a butterfly garden near Promontory Point, in the southeastern part of the park. May need some maintenance.

Carl S. English Botanical Garden
Location: 3015 NW 54th St, Seattle (at the Ballard Locks)
Description: This botanical garden is a tribute to the devotion of its first horticulturist, Carl S. English, Jr. During the 43 years working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Carl transformed the barren lawn, left after the construction of the locks, into a garden.