Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Trip to the Zoo and Botanical Garden

The Ramsey family took some time out from the garden, and from recruiting future soldiers to make a trip to a lovely, yet small zoo and botanical garden. The name of the zoo is Mesker Zoo and it is located in Evansville, Indiana.

One of the first things I espied upon walking into the zoo was this lovely white flowering shrub. It is gorgeous and I notice them around Tennessee quite a bit this year. I really thought it was a Japanese snowbell, Styrax japonica, but I now know it is not; the blooms are not bell shaped.

I happened upon a good picture of the bloom on one of the other garden blogs I occasionally visit. It is a Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata). Yes, I left a comment thanking the blogger. Coincidentally, this tree is one of the trees I had to learn last term in Landscape Materials. I must've been sleeping during that class. Shame on me! Doesn't the bloom look a bit like a star? I'll never forget it now.

Normally botanical gardens will have plant name plates identifying all specimens and plantings, sadly this zoo was lacking a few nameplates, this being one of them much to my chagrin.

Zoos wouldn't be zoos without animals. This zoo was a lot of fun. I have been to many zoos, but never one where you could pet the giraffes. The Jimster had quite a good time with these two fellas.

The giraffes were easily able to reach all onlookers and even volunteered some kisses! I think they were actually taste testing, but it is the same effect. Giraffes have very l-o-n-g tongues in addition to long necks. We all got a kick out of this exhibit. Has anyone visited zoos that were interactive like this?

This particular zoo had several lakes and both resident and non-resident birds. I posted once about the peacocks in nurseries in Evansville, there are also peacocks in this zoo in Evansville. The peacocks were so cool! We think it must be mating season because the fellas were busy displaying their lovely plumage. The really fun part was when the male would shake his plumage and 'yell' at the ladies, who were wont to pay no attention to him whatsoever. I took a video and hope it shows well for you all.

I will never forget the first male peacock I saw as a child. In our little town in Maine, there was a little animal park (Simpson Animal Park?) which had peacocks. My mother would take us four girls for frequent visits and I found the peacocks to be most fascinating with all their finery.

Of course, what botanical garden in spring would be complete without some lovely daffodils? This picture was taken looking up from a comfortable bench and I thought it was really scenic. You can see the pink of the tulip magnolia peaking through in the background. I will post on those later. They are absolutely gorgeous this year. I can't help thinking about all the dividing I need to do when I see daffodils, but I do enjoy them. My friend Geri says you really don't need to ever divide daffys. I do, but only because I want more of them. The day will sometime come when I won't divide the daffys each year.

Lastly, I will finish with a good picture of the bark of a mature River Birch, Betula nigra. This was a speciman tree at the zoo and I thought the bark showed very well. I can't wait until mine gets big enough to make an impression like this tree. The river birch does not have the unique white bark of the northern white birches, but it has charm all of its own.

in the garden....working on the veggie garden.


  1. Hi Tina,

    Nice post and what a lovely spring outing with your family! I left a little gift for you at my blog this morning...this is not spam, it's safe to stop by!

    BTW I got spammed big time yesterday.


  2. Tina,

    A zoo would be a great thing for the little girl to go to. I'll have to add that to the list! Great pictures. We have a farm nearby us that has peacocks. Very loud birds! We can't hear them at our house but we can when we visit my parents.

  3. Hi Tina --very nice zoo --I like a smaller zoo over a large one anyday. The flowers were really nice too! Sounds like a great family outing. I think rain today --so I want to get out and finish cleaning out the cracks in the driveway --they have tons of grass --looks like a mini lawn. See you later!

  4. Sounds like it was a great day Tina. I love zoos. You went to Bush Gardens did'nt you? When we were there they had a big big opened truck you could go for a ride on and see all the animals. A lot of different ones come right up to the truck. The giraffes came in a large number. They had food and we could feed them. Sure know what you mean about the long tongues and boy did they lap everyone! They would almost climb in the truck to get at us.

    Peacocks are so pretty but Dave is right, they can get loud. And yes it was Simpson's Animal Farm. It was just a small place but cozy and had bears and few other good animals. Do you remember the train the had? You kids used to love to ride on it. It was a great little place. Could take a lunch and spend the day.

    I love the looks of that tree. We are so used to the ones here that are so plentiful it is good to see another take on birch trees.

    Hope everone has an awesome day!

  5. I just love zoos and especially the ones that incorporate a Botanical garden! The Saint and I frequent the Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens which is an hour drive over the boarder into South Carolina. You can feed the giraffes there also...

    Yes Dave, do take your children to the zoo in Nashville sometime! Children learn a great respect for animals when parents teach them through zoos. We have not been to the zoo in Nashville since they relocated it a few years ago but we must get there sometime when we are back in TN…

    In Texas, they have drive through safaris. Or did when we lived there in the 90’s. You drove your own car through the trails and the animals were all loose and would come to your car window to munch on treats. We fed Camels, Giraffe, Zebra’s and Ostrich. The Ostrich would scare me with their big beaks! Remember the movie “Every which way but Loose” with Clint Eastwood and Clyde the Orangutan? Clyde was retired and living his life out at the Animal refuge type park.

    The video is great Tina! The male is proudly showing off for the female. I remember peacocks on a farm in Waverly when I would go visit family with my grandmother. We would stop and pick up the feathers from the ground. I wonder if they are still there. That was back in the 60 and 70’s…

    Love the tree! Really pretty. It reminds me of a daisy flower! You can really see how far IN is to us down here. All the daffodils are gone from here and the magnolias bloomed a long time ago! Wow Tina, you get to see from Florida- Georgia-Tennessee-Indiana to Maine seasons!

  6. Hi Guys,
    York is where we take the kids, they have the begal tigers. Jack of all trades favorite animals. The last time we went he made the noises like the tigers do and the male charged the front of the pen. I covered my head for fear of the stampedeing people behind me rushing to see them. The male paced and opened his mouth for about 20 minutes. She moved to the back, she was not impressed. They also have elephant rides.
    The river birch looks alot like the yellow but the yellow puts out light lemon to mint leaves before it darkens to green.
    Sounds like you guys had a nice trip.

  7. Tina, did you see the article in the Leaf Chronicle about the Daffodils?
    Those are the ones I was talking about a while back.
    You must drive by to see them!

  8. Now Gail, You know I would not think you are spamming me. Seems everyone has been hit. All I can say is report it. It is a shame it is being done. How many times were you hit?

    Thanks for the nomination of Excellence! Very kind of you. I visit you each morning, love your perspectives and it is a bonus we have met already. Now if we can just get Dave and Frances together...

    Dave, The Nashville Zoo is an excellent garden. I wasn't as impressed with the animals but it okay. Your daughter would love it. Do you have a closer zoo? I keep thinking of you in/near Nashville and I know you aren't. Peacocks are loud but I think I could tolerate them more than dogs. Do they bother you? And do they yell at night?

    Anonymous, I am trying to get in the garden too. I have to head downtown though. Bummer. Otherwise I'd be pulling those weeds as well. Dandelions are killing me! But I noticed some dwarf irises blooming this morning! They are very vivid dark purple, light blue and light apricot! I am so excited as I never saw it coming. They are only about 8" tall. So all is not lost. I think on the cracks of my driveway I would spray some Roundup. I don't use it much, but this is one of those cases. Have fun. Master Gardener meeting tonight. Busy day.

    Mom, I LOVED that little park. I wasn't sure of the name. Yes, I do remember the tram. The wolves too. I have good memories of it. I have been to Busch Gardens in both Florida and Virginia and rode the tram. You are talking of the park in Florida right? I think this is the Africa one and I thought it cool. Did not take the tram though. And those tongues! Watch out! Our birches are cool too, glad you like it. We down here often want what we cannot get, the white birches being one such thing.

    Skeeter, I am glad you liked the video. I took about four and did not know it as my battery was acting up. Of course, it is not as nice as in person but we thought it cool.

    I think ostriches can be pretty scary too! They are humongous! They did not have any here but emus. They are quite big too. I think the beaks of any of these birds would do some damage. Camels are cool. They had two humped ones here. Mr. Fix-it and I were remarking how we saw a ton of camels in Iraq/Kuwait, I am pretty sure all were one humped and many were dead along the side of the road. Not a nice sight but they were cool too. Such docile animals. I loved that movie with ole Clint. He is such an awesome actor and director. Did you talk to the Clyde?

    You know, I am really enjoying looking at spring from Florida to Maine. All on one blog! You must've noticed I changed my header? I only thought it fair since we have people from all those states and in between. Travel ties in with gardening so it fits. What gardener travels and doesn't buy plants and visit or admire other gardens? None.

    Dawn, Do you remember Simpson Animal Park? I don't think it is there anymore. It was so sweet and right there in town. Jimmy's favorite animal was the tiger just like Jack of all Trades. I don't particularly care for them. Once we were at the Bronx Zoo and one actually aimed and peed on a viewer (a woman holding a baby). They are smart creatures and I have no doubt he was expressing his displeasure with the situation. I know I would if I was him. You all need to beware around them. It was not a pleasant sight for us nor experience for her). I did not know York had a zoo. Must be pretty good sized to have tigers.

    You have bald eagles? Cool. They are so magnificent. I love all of the raptor birds, even the turkey vultures because they are so big and elegant and graceful.

  9. I am starting to get the hint, readers do not like surveys apparently. Why not? It is all anonymous and don't we want to see how others feel about certain things and gardens (this being a garden blog)? Please let me know if you all do not like them or are not interested or are just missing it. I have already voted and I am the only one! boo hoo.

  10. Skeeter, I surely did see the article and loved it. I had snapped pictures of this hill ALREADY prior to my switch to this blog and was going to interview them and do a post of this garden as my Community Garden of the Month on the Leaf's website. That has gone by the wayside now. I have enough to talk about with just my garden, so it is good people can read it in the paper.

    The Ladds actually have more than the daffodils, I got some pics of bridal wreath and a few others. I am so glad the Leaf printed it up as I was wondering about the history and now I know! My garden club ladies had also told me a bit but Stacy's article was more in depth-50,000 daffys! All I could see was dividing! They are beautiful and it was a good article. I figured if you didn't see it your mother would send it to you. This hill is very near my garden club building so I see it monthly.

  11. btw, cool pic! You are having so much fun! I can tell.

  12. Tina, I saw the survey last night but was going to wait to do my answer, it takes my 'puter so long to load. I let it do its thing in the morning (seeing all), then stop it loading during the day. Otherwise I'll be waiting forever. The comment page times out. We got a new networking # last night so maybe that will help.
    Yes, I remember Simpsons, small, but lots of birds.
    York is really big for a Maine zoo. Snake pits, deer, etc. No giraffes though, ostrich and yah, scary since they rear their head back before pecking. I saw a giraffe run while at animal kingdom in 2000. So graceful. York has different areas to walk, lots of different things to see. They even have boat rides in big "swans". Every once in a while the news will show a actual swan in love with one of the boats. Too funny. They end up relocating them because like Skeeter said, they are mean. We never seem to make it when things are blooming. Well, off to dance. Later.
    Bummer, I didn't know you had to do word verification even after you preview, came back from getting ready and wha la! Still here, not posted. Oh well.

  13. Hi Tina --I've tried to vote each time but it said it couldn't open/locate that webpage. I kept thinking it was because I was anonymous so I didn't get too upset. And, I did notice the top changed to include Florida to Maine:) We can all learn and see more than the local flowers/plants which is great. The snowman from Maine was in Zachary's social studies book --we were studying for TCAP and noticed it --so cool. The big tall --wheels for eyes guy, lol. Something the kids won't forget --saw him in the blog and stats from your mom. And, then in a school book in TN, too cool. I have to get the small boy out for a run --definite wind resistant day today. No mowing for me but I did get the weeds out of the driveway --I asked hubby to get some roundup or weed killer to spray the cracks so I don't have so much work to do next time. It was seriously looking like someone planted a lawn, hahaha. See you later!

  14. tina,
    7 times from dude named Jason! it took me about 10 minutes to get rid of them all.

    How do you report them?


  15. Looks like it was a grand day for an outing. The river birch is quite different than anything I've seen here in NS. And that Star Magnolia is just TOO pretty!

  16. I have been partaking in the survey! When I select, it shows me the results....

    One of our dogwoods is starting to drop its blossoms. Sniff, I always hate to see them go....

    Saint and I have been to town looking at sofas or couches. What do yall call them? We use both names... We had luck but we dont impulse buy so we will hold out a bit just make sure what we want is what we need.... There is a difference ya know....

    Tina, Turkey buzzards are not pretty when they are eating one of your deer that was killed by a passing car! Yuck but nature taking course I guess. They were just cleaning up the mess and yes, I had to snap a picture. But the Doe was one of our favorites, we knew it was Redd (we named her) she had such a red coat...

  17. Tina, I forgot to tell you. I chatted with my mom and she said to tell you that she likes your blog much better then when it was with the Leaf...

  18. Hi Tina --I didn't plan on mowing again but I did --the yard looks good and it's ready for the rain now:) More homework and studying for TCAP --seems excessive to me but what do I know?? lol The testing is next week but these piles of worksheets and notes are kicking my butt, hahaha --can't imagine being the kid actually having to know all this stuff for a test:) Hope your meeting went well tonight. I can only imagine there were tons of things to talk about with all these spring flowers in full bloom:) See you later --hope this storm isn't too bad later on tonight. It's one of those line cells that really throw a punch. More tulips opened today and finally something other than the pinkish purple --a red one with yellow:)

  19. Hey all, My Internet explorer acts funny at night. The comment and explorer shut down half way thru a comment. We all know I write a ton so forgive me for not rewriting it again for the third time. I thought I was smart last time and copied my comment but when I went to paste it in here, it was not there. Go figure. Anyhow, just wanted to say hi. Life's great. We are about to get a huge storm here so I am shutting my computer down and heading to bed. Tons of lightening. Before it closes me out-goodnight. Will talk more tomorrow. Good night!

  20. Yes Tina it was the Bush Gardens in Tampa we went to.

    You must not remember Simpsoms as much as you think cause it was a real choo choo train with caboose and all the other cars and on a railroad track that just went round and round. It was smaller than a real train but had all the bells and whisles, ect. No, sadly it has not been there for years and years.

    Besides the York Animal Farm there is also the Gray Animal Farm in Gray which is near Pownal. It is not as big as York but Terri-Lynn used to take the girls all the time
    and when Joanne was here with Samone they all went there. I have never gone but they like it. You can see the babies of different animals being born there.

    I wonder where Nina and Lola are today.

  21. Batten down the hatches and keep safe during the storm! Was just talking to my mom on the phone and could hear the wind chimes blowing like crazy. She was sitting on the porch while chatting with me...

    Jean, it is so sad when neat things like the old train disappear.

    I hate when the computer acts up. We finally broke down and got a new one a few years ago and it took me awhile to get the hang of it but much better then the old one that liked to crash at times...

    Anonymous, knowledge for kids is easy compared to us not so younguns! I am only speaking for myself yall… enjoy those tulips! Red is my favorite color tulip

  22. Hey Skeeter, I am still on reading other blogs and looking at spring fling pics. That was cool many blogger met in person. I have only met one, that being Gail. She had fun at the Spring Fling.

    Tell your Mom I said thanks, I am glad she likes the new blog better. I am glad she is reading and HI SKEETER'S MOM from me myself. I bet you like Skeeter's post and isn't it great to communicate with each other on here as well as phones? Pictures sure help, I know my mother likes them. Talk to you later.

    While I'm on here until it logs me off. Dawn, glad you remember Simpsons. Anonymous, good you cut that grass. Nancy J. Bond-do you have white birches in Nova Scotia? Gail, you have to copy the url and paste it under "report fraud" link. I will say more tomorrow.

  23. Hi Mom, I too was wondering where Nina and Lola are. Maybe the letter thing is a bother but they haven't emailed me either. Lots going on now.

    I remember the train. I do! It was fun. We'll have to go to the zoo when we come for a visit. Still dependent on Mr. Fix-it's job and what is up. He is only allowed a week leave at a time, max two weeks and that is difficult. He should be done this summer but still waiting on word before we can make such big plans to come to Maine. Anyhow, good night. I get to visit three gardens (THREE!) tomorrow and I am ever so excited. I might even take my camera. I have to download the pics first and charge it. We'll see.