Every year on the zoo, we have about 35 planted containers on display around the Visitor Center and Main Zoo Building. This season there were a variety of plants including sumac, purple fountain grass, Japanese blood grass, gazanias, and sweet potato vine planted in the containers. For the first time, we decided to grow a perennial shrub in our containers to later be planted on zoo grounds. The sumac was planted in the containers as a 1-3 gallon nursery sized plant. Throughout the season they have flourished and are now about 4 feet tall.
Now this week we have taken the zoo pots off of display and are harvesting the sumac to be planted alongside the lion exhibit. Sumac is a great plant choice for this area because the lions like the shelter the plants provide, but visitors will still be able to peer through the plants to catch glimses of the lions. We are in a race against the clock as to when the plumbers will shut off our water, so it is essential that we get them planted while we still have access to water to get them watered in. It's amazing how quickly the growing season winds down.