A Natural Playground

Butterfly Garden & Playscape

The final touches were added to Effie Yeaw Nature Center’s new playscape in April, and children have been enjoying it ever since. The previous playscape was located at a very sunny location at the border of the Nature Study Area and in prime rattlesnake habitat. The new playscape is much larger than the old one, takes advantage of a shady location away from the snakes, and provides many more activities for children. The pollinator garden has been expanded into the old playscape area where the native plants will thrive in the sunshine. The playscape is beautiful and built with all-natural materials, mostly wood. Large hunks of old trees invite children to climb, jump, crawl, and play on them. Other attractions include a working weather station, a wooden xylophone, a musical fence with chimes, a bank of colorful widgets to play with, and numerous other attractions. The Playscape could not have been completed without the generosity of many contributors including Lowe’s, Teresa Blue, the Sacramento Tree Foundation, and the many volunteers who provided labor and good ideas.

Flutter-by Butterflies!

Added to our grounds in 1996, the lovely Butterfly Garden showcases a variety of native, drought-tolerant plants and flowers that attract butterflies as well as other pollinators. Pollinators are critical for healthy ecosystems . They are essential for plant reproduction, and create genetic diversity in the plants they pollinate. Diversity helps plants better handle changes in the environment. Best of all, pollinators such as hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies are beautiful and fascinating.

Strolling the paths through the garden, you’ll have a chance to see native bees and some of the common butterflies of the Sacramento region including:

  • Cabbage White
  • Painted Lady
  • California Hairstreak
  • Pipevine Swallowtail
  • Common Buckeye
  • Red Admiral
  • Monarch
  • Western Tiger Swallowtail
  • Mourning Cloak
  • White-lined Sphinx Moth
  • Orange Sulfur
Monarch Butterfly

Garden Blooms in Spring and Early Summer

  • Bush Lupine – deer-resistant plant displays lovely light blue to violet flowers in dense clusters on a long stem above the leaves
  • Bush Monkey-Flower – flowers may be white, light orange or red on the plant which has sticky leaves (can bloom into fall)
  • Coyote Mint – bright lavender or pink flower burst from the hairy, mint-scented foliage
  • Foothill Penstemon – one inch violet flowers on three foot spikes that can bloom from April through August
  • Yarrow – small clusters of white flowers on long stems

Garden Blooms in Late Summer and Autumn

  • California Fuschia – a lovely red, tubular flower on a hearty, perennial plant
  • Goldenrod – small, beautiful yellow flowers on long, leafy stems
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