Saturday, October 9, 2010

The zoo exploded on my house!

Did you like that title? It really did.

Yesterday we had nothing to do. I spent most of the afternoon with the windows and doors open enjoying the beautiful weather. I thought "We need to be out enjoying this somewhere". The park is overrated and kinda boring for a 12 year old so, since we have passes, we went to the Dallas Zoo. We walked through the front gate and I spotted a groundskeeper viciously ripping beautiful (have you ever seen the plants there? Beautiful!) plants out of the ground and throwing them on a truck bed. I thought to myself "Surely he is moving those to another bed... They are too nice to throw out." I was too chicken to ask him.

So we went about our way. All the kids went to the butterfly area and made a "metamorphosis" model of a butterfly. We looked and petted the goats. We relaxed, though I was still thinking about those poor, innocent, beautiful plants.

We headed back for the front gate after an hour or so and that same groundskeeper guy was, yet again, ripping out poor defenseless plants. I gathered up the gumption. I asked "Hey, are you throwing those away?". He said "yeah, they are going to compost." I looked down at the entire flat trailer chock full of gorgeous plants and couldn't resist myself - if you know me well, you can predict that I asked if I could have them. I was sure to ask if he'd get into trouble. He was adamant that he wouldn't. He even gave me a huge trash bag to take them home in! These are the kind of moments in life I am thankful for a double stroller. I am sure we got lots of glares... I don't care. I am thrifty and I am proud, okay?

I came home and scrambled to find a home for each plant. This is the best I could do with these two trees. I wish I knew what they were called. I wish even more that I had grabbed three more. They look really nice in my empty front flower bed (it's empty because it has an eave over it and gets no rain water). The pink shades in the leaves look awesome with my pink glass in the front door.

This one was just a cute little plant I threw in the bag last, I have no idea what it is either but it sure is cute!
This is a Croton. Actually, it is three. I just ran out of pots to put them in so I put them together. I have a Croton that I have had for several years but it looks nowhere near as nice as this one. Mine is very spindly and green (less red and yellow - the colors come with more sunlight exposure). I try to put it outside but it has been an indoor plant for so long that it wilts outside. This one will stay in more sun, hopefully, if it lives. I really have no idea how any of them will do. They were ripped out of the ground senselessly anyway.
This one is my favorite. The guy said it is a wrinkled croton. I have always wanted one of these. I used to drool and covet these at the zoo. Now I have one of my very own. It is also 2 together in the bucket and it is the healthiest of all the plants I brought home.

I love that I had the guts to ask. Talk about being in the right place at the right time! My only regret is not grabbing more!


  1. Wow--you saved a bundle! What a productive trip to the zoo! I am jealous!

  2. They all look great. Hope they make it!

  3. The ones in that first picture with the pinkish stripes is a type of dracena. I've never seen them that tall, though! Lovely.

    Last week I rescued a croton from the shop, it's pitiful looking, lol.

  4. So, ya you are right. It is a dracena. It says on Google that it is very sensitive to the fluoride in municipal water. Oops, it gets absolutely no rain water where it is..

  5. Fluoride? I didn't know that. I always water them with regular tap water, lol.

  6. Oh Amy, I am so glad you have joined the club. The "Rescue the Plants" club that I have claimed to be a member of for so long!!! You make me proud! Love that you got so new plants! Just Me

  7. Hello,
    I am the Horticulture Manager of the Dallas Zoo and would like to comment. The plants that you saw the Zoo Horticulture staff taking out of the seasonal color beds and planters are all annual or tropical plants that will die as soon as the weather gets cold if they are left outside. Most of the tropicals that still look great are potted up and kept over the winter in our greenhouse to be used next spring. All the other plants go into our composting operation, which provides compost for our planting areas. This keeps them from going to the landfill, and saves a great deal of money because we do not have to purchase any compost.
    Here at the Zoo, we use many plants that are grown in our greenhouse and recycled each season. We also use many perennial plants that come back each spring. However, it is necessary also to use annual plants that only last one season. These plants must be removed to make room for the next season’s planting. Unfortunately, they usually look great just about the time the weather makes it necessary for us to change to the new season plants.
    The Dallas Zoo is very conscious of providing a beautiful landscape for our guests while working hard to conserve our natural resources. I hope this explains your experience at the Zoo. We do hope you enjoy your plants. Remember, they will need to be inside before it freezes. If you have any other questions, I will be happy to visit with you. Cindy Wahkinney, Dallas Zoo, Horticulture Manager