Zoological Gardens – flora and fauna side by side

Today is the last day of the A to Z challenge and the final instalment of my series on the history of gardens. I’m starting this post by looking at menageries. Now hang on as I guide you to the reason why it’s my Z post.

‘Menagerie’ was used in 17th century France to refer to the management of livestock or household, only later did it come to represent the aristocratic collection of animals or travelling collections found in circuses and fairs. For the aristocrats having exotic beasts on display was as good as publishing your bank balance and situating them inside pleasure gardens was an added bonus. William the First had a small menagerie, so did Henry I with lions and leopards. The Tower in London started collecting animals in 1204 displaying them in rows of cages. The menagerie was opened to the public in Elizabeth I’s reign and eventually the animals were moved in 1831 and the Tower menagerie was closed in 1835. What was created to house the animals was the London Zoological Garden, which is situated in Regents Park. It was initially called the Gardens and Menagerie of the Zoological Society of London. The abbreviation zoo was coined a few years later. London Zoo remains the oldest zoo in the world.

We’re all familiar with the animals kept at the zoo but probably less so when it comes to the garden or park aspect of a zoo. It’s something you might overlook when walking around – the flora. Paignton Zoo is a botanical garden where rare plants are displayed alongside rare animals.  From cactus to giant water lilies, the zoo specialises in protecting plants species on endangered lists.

Bristol Zoo Gardens grow moth orchids from the Philippines, purple berried flax lily, acers and cedars. The gardens are laid out formally with flowering beds, and informally using rock gardens and sub-tropical displays. Edinburgh Zoo was originally a nursery owned by Thomas Blaikie who planted French parks and the horticulture tradition continues with 120 species of trees, and many plants grown in greenhouses.

The linking of plants to animals is also a big feature of zoological gardens, especially where micro-climates are created in tropical houses, and the plants augment the enclosures, showing off diversity and not simply the animals.

I live near Chester Zoo in the North West of England. It is not only home to thousands of animal and bird species, many of which are endangered, but also botanical gardens.  There’s a sunken garden on the fringes of the zoo, tucked away where it’s quiet and peaceful and a great example of a water garden.

Then, there’s a Zen water garden planted with Chinese and Himalayan species; it’s right next door to the Red Panda enclosure.

Grasses, often neglected in formal gardens, are featured in the Madagascan Grasses where bamboo and sand dune grasses grow alongside ornamental grasses.  The Andes garden is purposely built on a slope to mimic the habitats of the Chilean and Argentinian plants growing on the hillsides, and its next door to the butterfly garden.

Plants in zoos are used for windbreaks, shelter and shade for the animals, who in turn help pollinate when they brush against the flowers. Plants and animals go hand in hand, so its not surprising that zoos support the conversation of both with the creation of bee and insect gardens.

So when visiting a zoo, don’t forget to take in the landscape, the hard work of the gardeners who transform the spaces between the enclosures and create the habitats for the animals. It all adds to the experience, because after all, what would a garden be if it wasn’t for the visitors whether they are animals and humans.

 

Thanks to all the visitors who’ve stopped by and took the time to read my daily posts.

 

 

 

8 comments

  1. A delightful end to an interesting and informative series about one of my favourite pastimes, visiting gardens. Thank you.

    My final Children’s Story – for now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One of mine too! Thanks for all your comments.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent point about plants and animals going together for both conservation and appreciation.
    Congratulations on reaching Z!
    Black and White: Z is for Ziz

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading. I enjoyed writing the posts.

      Like

  3. Antoinette Truglio Martin · · Reply

    Congrats on finishing the challenge. I enjoyed the journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!

      Like

  4. So many beautiful photographs (love the purple flax lily and the Zen water garden and the pink foot bridge), many that I have missed over the past month so I’ll be back to check out all of them.
    Congratulations on completing the AtoZChallenge2019. Now it is time for some well-deserved extra zzzzz’s before tackling that next interesting project in May.
    http://gail-baugniet.blogspot.com
    Z is for Zulu Warrior in Belgium?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for stopping by. I hope you have the time to catch up on more posts. There’s so much reading still to be done!

      Like

Comments are always welcome.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Shravmusings

Kiddie Talkies - Have a look at this World through a kid's eyes with the help of his Mom's expressions

Rebekah Loper, Author

Character-driven epic fantasy. Resilient women. A touch of romance.

I Rhyme Without Reason

I live in words

Wolf of Words

Stories, Reviews and Opinions!

Iain Kelly

Fiction Writing

thewirralgirl

it wouldn't be thewirralgirl without you.

Rachel Walkley

Telling Tales, Revealing Secrets

Author Erika Jayne

Where stories come to life

Living the Dream

Susanne Matthews

Stories I Found in the Closet

The musings of writer, mother, musician and whatever else takes my fancy

Planet Pailly

Where Science Meets Fiction

Shawna Atteberry

Writer, Editor, Researcher

WordDreams...

Jacqui Murray's

True North Bricks

A Recognized LEGO® Fan Media Site from Canada

Tossing It Out

The musings of writer, mother, musician and whatever else takes my fancy

Word Shamble

Exploring fictional worlds in a flash

Yarnspinnerr

Just Fiction and other things that seem fictitious.

%d bloggers like this: