Volunteers organized by HomeGrown have adapted a mid-century “classic” park design, creating pollinator-friendly gardens and a raised-planter farm for school children to grow vegetables.
Butterfly Garden is a half-acre public park on the very edge of Park Slope in Brooklyn. At 18th Street and 7th Avenue, it is hard by the Prospect Expressway, one of a string of greenspaces created from the scraps of land left over after Robert Moses bulldozed the highway through the neighborhood in the late 1950s.
The triangular park was built to the specifications of the Department of Parks & Recreation “Tot Lot 7” standard design circa 1956. Fence-enclosed garden areas around its perimeter provide a buffer between the street and an oak-shaded interior pathway lined with benches. The park’s core area was once anchored by a sandbox – now repurposed as the foundation for raised planters that are part of the PS 10 School Farm.
Within the garden areas, tens of thousands of daffodils, tulips and grape hyacinths make a colorful display in the spring. Flowering shrubs include dogwood, lilacs, weigela, laurel, oak-leaf hydrangea, and butterfly bushes. Perennials run to plants that do well in neighborhood backyards (where many originated) and include bearded irises, siberian irises, tiger lilies, day lilies, coreopsis, echinacea, salvia, phlox, rudbeckia, yarrow, and more – as well as hostas, hellebores, coral bells, ferns and a variety of ground covers for shady areas. The sunniest spots feature natives such as joe pye weed, wild aster, columbine, boneset, wild sunflowers ... and milkweed, essential to Monarch butterflies.
Gardeners welcome – all ages – no experience needed
The garden is informal ... and very much a work in progress.
Garden design and maintenance is the work of HomeGrown volunteers. Weather permitting, we’re gardening every Saturday morning, starting at 10:00 a.m., April through October. New gardeners are always welcome. We have tools, gloves and plenty to do from early spring through late fall. No experience needed – we’ll work with you.
Butterfly Garden extends a special welcome to children. We are happy to have them take part in seasonal projects, from spring planting and seeding, through summer watering and weeding, and on to raking leaves in the fall.
*HomeGrown also provides volunteer opportunities for students along with certificates documenting community service hours. Contact us for more information.