Family Garden

A garden for every generation.

What is a Zoo Garden?

This garden is meant to provide an accessible way for everyone to enjoy nature. By creating this 4 level raised bed, people of all ages can touch, feel, smell, and enjoy all of the plants in the garden. Children are able to reach the plants in the lower boxes while adults can touch the plants in the higher boxes. Visitors who aren't able to bend down to interact with the flowers in other gardens have a way to interact with the plants in the zoo garden.
The plants in this bed have all sorts of colors and are fun to look at but what stands out about them are their names; all of the plants and flowers in this bed have animal names. this zoo garden consists of plants with names ranging from mythical creatures like snapdragon and real animals like Bengal tiger. Please continue reading for an in depth summary of all of the plants living in the zoo garden.

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The Process

Blueprints

In order to build this structure, there needed to be a plan which came in the form of blueprints. These blueprints made it easier to figure out how many 8 foot cedar boards were needed to build the whole bed. Most of the boards needed to be 3 feet or 5 feet long so math came into play when figuring out how many 8 foot boards were needed without having extras.

Structure

After gathering all of the materials and tools, the structure of the bed took about 5 hours to build. The building process consisted of cutting all of the boards to the correct length, placing the boards one box at a time, and drilling almost 200 nails to hold everything in place.

Planting

Planting everything in this bed took about 3 hours of laying out where each plant was going to go, digging holes to put them in, and watering them afterwards. Below are all of the plants that are in this garden!

The Plants

Celosia spicata ‘Flamingo Feather’ (Celosia)
This bright pink flower is perfect for various bouquets and arrangements but is also beautiful to look at. It originated in Africa but is commonly used for food in Indonesia and India.

 Viola cornuta ‘Tiger Laeta’ 
(Tiger Violet)
This golden flower adds a ray of sunshine to any flower bed. The petals are bright yellow with veins ranging from purple to black to make it look like a tiger.

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 Canna ‘Pretoria’
(Bengal Tiger Canna)

The Bengal tiger canna is a gorgeous orange flower with striped leaves that resemble tiger stripes. This flower can grow up to 6 feet tall and 5 feet wide! look out for caterpillars that enjoy chewing on the large leaves!

 Antirrhinum majus ‘Black Prince’ (Snapdragon)
Despite the name “Black Prince”, these deep red snapdragons are a great addition to any garden. They can reach up to 18 inches tall. Snapdragons can be used as garnish for certain meals and drinks in some restaurants, but with their bitter taste, they don’t make for a good snack. 

 Plectranthus scutellarioides ‘UF17-52-25’ (Copperhead Coleus)
Copperhead Coleus’ have a dark red, red, or burgundy center with an outline of bright yellow.
These colors become even more vibrant with more sun. they have a spiky edge but unlike their animal counterpart, they will not hurt you.

 Carex buchananii ‘Red Rooster’ (Leatherleaf Sedge)
This ornamental grass originated in New Zealand and it could be found in a wide variety of terrains including mountains, forests, and along rivers and beaches. Despite what it may look like, Red Rooster is very much alive and can grow up to 2 feet tall!

 Cleome houtteana
(Sparkler Spider Flower Mixture)

With clusters of brightly colored petals, and long thread-like stamens of the individual flowers, this flower resembles a spider. It has been a garden favorite since 1800! Because it produces ample amounts of nectar and pollen, it is a great choice for encouraging pollinating insects in the garden.

 Alocasia ‘Stingray’ 
(Elephant Ear)

Because of the shape of these massive leaves, the Stingray Elephant Ear earns it name. The large leathery leaves on this plant can reach a width of 3-4 feet wide and can grow up to 6 feet tall! It is native to the tropical rainforests of Asia but nowadays, it grows all over the subtropics.

Colocasia ‘Electric Blue Gecko’
(Elephant Ear)
The Blue Gecko Elephant Ear is a relatively new cross between 2 hybrids of Colocasia. Although the name suggests a blue color, this plant can range from dark purple to jet black with maroon on the underside. It can reach up to 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide.

Musa acuminata subsp. acuminata ‘Zebrina’ (Zebra Banana)
With large banana shaped leaves with stripes of red and green, the Zebra Banana deserves its name. This very tall plant can grow up to 5-10 feet tall! It is native to Indonesia but can now be found everywhere.

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Agave ‘Whale Tail’, ‘Snow Leopard’, ‘Silver Fox’
Mangaves are a cross between the Manfreda and Agave. These rare hybrids contain the best of both species; a better growth rate and interesting patterns from the Manfreda and the habit and refinement of Agave. Careful, some Mangaves are lined with sharp spikes so touch at your own risk.