The Butterfly Garden at San Dieguito County Park opened to the public in May 2018. Located at the Northern end of the lower park, the garden is home to an assortment of blooming plants that attract a number of butterflies, hummingbirds and bees, daily.
Previously, the area was part of a parking lot used to house maintenance equipment and debris from tree removals. The roots of Paperbark Eucalyptus trees were cracking through the asphalt, causing trip hazards and making the area unsafe for public access. Park staff decided to transition the space from waste to wonder, replacing a dump ground with a beautiful new amenity.
The team embarked on a five-and-a-half-month journey to revamp the lot into a butterfly garden. They started by lifting the existing Australian Tee trees, cutting Paperbark Eucalyptus trees down to the root to prevent regrowth, and replacing surrounding asphalt.
A retaining fence was erected and around 500 native and non-native plants were planted. An irrigation system with reclaimed water was also installed with flow rates to ensure specific plants could get sufficient water. Gravel paths were installed, meandering through the 25,000 square-foot enclosure, passing flower beds, trees and a shaded park bench.
A hand-crafted arched entryway was constructed with intricately designed monarch butterflies – both hand carved and painted – providing a whimsical welcome to garden visitors.
Park staff have also commemorated a space for a baby owl that hatched in one of the Paperbark Eucalyptus trees two summers before construction. Inside the garden, you can spot a hand carved replica of the owl, within the stump of an old Eucalyptus tree.
“This is now one of the most popular places to visit in the park,” said Park Ranger Ken Trapp. “The butterflies are arriving in mass, daily, and park guests are amazed!”
Take a stroll through the Butterfly Garden and enjoy the scenery as it flutters by.
For more information, call San Dieguito County Park at 858-755-2386. The park is open from 9:30 a.m. until sunset, daily.