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.