Located in the city’s west end lies a butterfly enthusiasts dream. Loaded with a variety of annuals and perennials, the gardens at Elmo W. Curtis and Rayner Gardens are in full bloom right now and loaded with butterflies. Located at the corner of Springbank Drive and Wonderland Road, these conjoined parks are often referred to as the rose gardens. Admission is free and parking is available off Springbank Drive or Wonderland Road. These gardens can also be accessed on foot from the Maurice Chapman Walkway if you happen to be walking between Springbank and Greenway Parks. The area features several gardens, arbours with hanging baskets, benches, native trees and a reflecting pond. The grounds are meticulously maintained, making it a popular summer place for wedding parties to be photographed.
On a recent visit, butterflies of all sizes and colours were present. Monarchs, Swallowtails, Red-spotted Purple, Red Admiral, as well as Cabbage White and Clouded Sulphur were all seen. Smaller specimens such as Skippers and Hairstreaks were also observed. Many of the gardens feature flowers of the genus Echinacea which were drawing these butterflies to their nectar.
These gardens also attract birds and several species were seen on this day. American Goldfinches could be seen feeding on the various flowers that had gone to seed. Northern Cardinals, Bluejays, Woodpeckers, and Black-capped Chickadees were also present. A juvenile Red-tailed Hawk screeched as it few overhead. Although none were seen on this particular visit, Ruby-throated Hummingbird likely are drawn to the array of flowers. Several mammal species were seen including the Eastern Grey Squirrel, Eastern Chipmunk, and Eastern Cottontail.
Next time you find yourself in this part of town, stop in and check out the beautiful gardens and the incredible nature that calls Rayner Gardens home.