Tucked away on a small side road in Brush Prairie, WA is a haven for birds and butterflies, dog walkers, small children, and gardeners. A wide gravel path is lined with rooms of small themed gardens on either side. Wander the winding gravel paths and bark paths to explore each room filled with a wide variety of perennials, flowering shrubs, flowering trees, and two or three water features. The garden’s focus is a more casual planting that appeals to the ultimate beneficiaries: bees, hummingbirds, butterflies, native birds, and an occasional rabbit. You will not find manicured lawns lined with a monoculture of one variety of annuals and clipped hedges.
What you will find is variety. The all-volunteer nonprofit maintains the garden with a mission to encourage planting gardens with wildlife in mind. Wildlife need variety. They need water. They need shelter. They need food. All are increasingly hard to find as suburban neighborhoods become more densely packed and farmland becomes paved over with warehouses. Everyone’s backyard could be a savior for their area’s endangered bee population and aid butterflies, moths, and other pollinators.
I visited in early August when the beds were blooming with liatris, echinacea, russian sage, phlox, and rose of sharon. I had the entire garden to myself mid-morning to wander before it got too hot.
A large pink flowering mimosa tree cast dappled shade below while three different shades of rose of sharon shrubs made their own tropical looking show below. Early August gardens can start to look a bit exhausted, and as most gardeners would say, “you should have been here two weeks ago!” The wide variety of flowers in the beds and trees in this garden are a reason to come and visit several times during the year to see what new is in bloom.
Children would be thrilled to explore the many little paths. I imagined myself as a youngster visiting this garden with my sisters. I would have claimed one room as my “house” and they would have their houses. We would have played visitor to each other’s “houses” happily for hours, sitting at the picnic benches or under gazebos.
The garden is free to visitors from dawn to dusk year-round. Dog walkers are welcome as long as pets are on a leash and stay on the paths. Bring your camera or a friend and come visit!
11000 NE 149th St, Brush Prairie WA 98606