Monday, July 28, 2008

Victoria's are ready to bloom!

Our Victoria waterplatters are getting ready to bloom. These are a must see if you have not done so yet! As you may recall 4 years ago we were able to bring the Victoria water platters back to the Como Zoo after being absent for nearly 100 years. Every year it is quite a process that happens behind the scenes to get these looking as awesome as they do year after year!

The flower is also so unique on the Victoria's that it deserves a seperate explanation. The Victoria's are night bloomers. Right at dusk, sometimes earlier in the day, you can see the flower bud crack open. This is a sure sign we would have a flower that night. The first night the flower is white and it has a pineapple scent to it. The second night it reopens and it is now deeper pink. After it has opened twice, it is considered a spent flower and we would remove it. This grooming happens on a daily basis throughout the whole pool.

In South America, where they are native, a Scarab beetle would be the main pollinater of Victoria's. In Minnesota, we tried for the first time last year to pollinate by hand, using a small, soft paint brush. It was a lot of hard work and many hours put in and unfortunately were unsuccessful. We will keep trying till we master the art though!

The water gardens will be up and running till early fall but that is all weather dependent of course! Horticulture staff that work on this day in and day out do a wonderful job! It is the best we think its every looked!! Great job fellow staff!