One of my favorite places to visit is located in Southwest Harbor, Maine. The Charlotte Rhoades Park and Butterfly Garden are open seasonally from the middle of April until the middle of October. The park has an information box with brochures for you to take a self-guided tour of the gardens. If you visit on Thursdays from 9:30 A.M. to 11:30 A.M., you will find the garden volunteers at the park that will share information about the gardens and butterfly activities. The garden also has signs with information on the plants and flowers in the garden, along with information on butterflies. The garden beds are meant to look like butterfly wings. There is also a donation box at the entrance to the park, and the suggested donation is $5.00 per family. The park is very family-friendly, although pets are not allowed in the park. This is a great way to spend an afternoon exploring the garden and looking for the butterflies. There are also picnic tables, so you can bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the beautiful views while eating lunch. Just make sure you take your trash back out with you, as there are no trash barrels at the park. The park also has a small swing set for the kids to enjoy. Charlotte Rhoades Park and Butterfly Garden also have an annual butterfly release, which is a fundraiser for the upkeep of the park and activities at the park. To get to the garden, you will need to follow Route 102 on Mount Desert Island through Somesville to Southwest Harbor. Look for the Charlotte Rhoades Park sign on the left. The park is less than half an hour from Acadia National Park.
History of the park and gardens
Charlotte Rhoades was a resident of Southwest Harbor in 1950 and, in 1970, the town of Southwest Harbor was given the property in her memory by her family with a request that the town uses the property as a quiet park for children and their families. In 1996, Maine architect Bruce John Riddell volunteered to make a plan for a butterfly garden with plants that are host plants for butterflies. In 1998, the fifth grade class at Pemetic Elementary School in Southwest Harbor went to the spring town meeting and presented a plan for a butterfly garden project and requested $8,500 for materials and labor. The request was approved unanimously, and in June of 1998, the butterfly garden was officially opened at Charlotte Rhoades Park.
Butterfly Garden Butterflies
Some of the many species of butterflies you might spot at the Charlotte Rhoades Park and Butterfly Garden are the cabbage white, clouded sulphur, eastern tiger swallowtail, meadow fritillary, Milbert's tortoiseshell, monarch, mourning cloak, painted lady, pearl crescent, red admiral, spring azure, and the white admiral. Butterfly activity varies from day to day. The garden contains both annual and perennial butterfly host plants that are cared for by organic gardening practices to protect the butterflies.
If you haven't yet paid the park and garden a visit, you might want to plan a day trip and head to the Charlotte Rhoades Park and Butterfly Garden and see what species of butterflies you can spot. As the old saying goes, sometimes you just need to stop and smell the flowers, and this garden is the perfect opportunity to do just that.