Something to really flutter about

With Bright Whites and Painted Ladies fluttering about, Roxanne Moye carefully opened the door to the butterfly habitat Monday morning trying not to let the elusive creatures escape.

Master Gardeners create sustainable butterfly habitat at Anna Smith Park.

With Bright Whites and Painted Ladies fluttering about, Roxanne Moye carefully opened the door to the butterfly habitat Monday morning trying not to let the elusive creatures escape.

“They’re wily,” Judy Martin said as she looked on.

The sustainable butterfly habitat is the newest addition to Anna Smith Children’s Park on Tracyton Boulevard in Central Kitsap and local supporters will celebrate tomorrow morning with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Master Gardeners began talking about building a butterfly habitat at the park and when Moye, a Master Gardener herself, rested at home for nearly four months after having surgery, she had all the time in the world to research butterflies and how to build a sustainable habitat.

“I read everything I could find,” Moye said.

Moye frequented one Web site more than others and it turned out the site’s creator and butterfly guru resided in Seabeck.

“I’ve talked to her lots and lots and lots,” Moye said. “We ordered the caterpillars from her. She’s a wealth of information.”

The Anna Smith Park butterfly house is the first of its kind in Kitsap County. Moye said it’s the only sustainable one in western Washington and third sustainable habitat in the entire state.

“It’s really become a focal point for the garden,” Martin, a Master Gardener, said.

Moye said the spot beside the Master Gardener Program gardens was originally a butterfly bed, but it was overgrown. Master Gardeners then decided to build a butterfly habitat and received a grant from Fiskars Project Orange Thumb to construct the shelter.

“You can dream and plan all you want, but at the end of the day it takes money,” Martin said.

Fiskars, a global supplier of home gardening and outdoor products, gave $1,500 worth of Fiskars garden tools and another $1,000 for plants and seeds for the butterfly habitat. Project Orange Thumb has provided more than 110 community groups with more than $250,000 to create and develop their own special community gardens.

Parker Lumber of Bremerton sold Master Gardeners the lumber at cost and the butterfly habitat was completed in May.

Master Gardeners planted various plants and hung flower baskets inside the structure so the Bright White and Painted Lady butterflies can survive and thrive in their new home.

Martin said there has been upwards of 20 children in the Master Gardeners children’s classes Wednesdays at Anna Smith Park and each class concludes with a peek at the butterfly habitat. The structure is locked at all times, but people can peer through the screen walls to watch the insects.

“That to the kids is just fascinating,” Moye said. “They love it. They just love it.”

The butterfly habitat provides people an opportunity to learn about the life cycle of butterflies, moths and the plants that provide them nectar. Moye said the Master Gardeners even get a kick out of watching the butterflies grow and change inside the habitat.

“Every adult in this garden has been down here once a week just to stare and see the changes,” she said. “We have butterflies around us all the time and seldom recognize what we’re seeing.”

The Anna Smith Children’s Park open house is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with the butterfly habitat ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for 11 a.m. The open house includes tours of the native plant trail, children’s activities, a plant sale and refreshments. Children also will have an opportunity to decorate bricks along the butterfly habitat walkway.

Moye said Master Gardeners hope people appreciate the butterfly house and learn a thing or two about the beautiful insects.

“Butterflies are a part of everybody’s garden,” she said.