Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Veggie garden at the zoo

If it hadn't been for Marlin Perkins and Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom I would still be thinking all exotic wildlife lived in concrete habitats. I had not been to the Oregon Zoo since it was called the Washington Park Zoo, back in the last century. Things have changed quite a lot and Horticultural Director Linda Richardson gave me a fascinating peek at how you go from a collection of wild animals to a fully realized zoological garden. The zoo's botanical garden has more than 1,000 species of exotic plants, including firebird heliconia, pelican flower, and ground orchid. Not everything is exotic, though. At the Trillium Creek Family Farm display, volunteers tend a vegetable garden based on existing historical Northwest farms to showcase heritage farming, and some of the produce gets turned into animal fodder. Also at the Trillium Creek display, you can hear about what farming was like in Oregon in the mid-1800s and meet farm animals up close and personal.

If you would like to have a private tour with one of the zoo’s horticultural experts, you can set it up online at

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