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Show #20/1607
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden


Plants That Grow Well In The Community
They even have a web site, not only on their trialing but also PLANTS THAT GROW WELL IN THE COMMUNITY and what's going on in the region. There one can find what's growing in Cincinnati and doing well. There is a tremendous amount of information on the site. There is a link to that site below. http://www.PlantPlaces.com/

Click here for more info

Trial Gardens
THE GUYS NEXT VISIT THE TRIAL GARDENS. They have the trial gardens to, basically, show the public which annuals do well in the greater Cincinnati region. They trial over 200 varieties a year to test which ones can tolerate the heat, the PH, clay soils, things like that. There are different types of trials. The local trials tell the folks what works best locally. Many of these plants will grow all across the country, however. They work with some of the largest companies in the country, but as well work with local nurseries and garden centers so they know what they're trialing here. The nurseries then know what is winning so they can carry that for the public to buy. Initially plants are trialed in the back of a bed, etc. but when the plant takes off and does well, it graduates and gets moved up, even to the main park where it is more easily seen. It's on the podium, so to speak. The staff evaluates the plants as well as Extension Agents from Ohio State University and there are some folks from the Cincinnati Flower Growers Assoc. that do the growing and selling of the plants. So, it's a full circle. The consumers are looking at the pants, so everything is labeled, allowing the public to write down the plants they like. They have a brochure at the end of the year that identifies the winners. They can then take that to their garden centers and buy the plants, this means everyone wins and everyone enjoys and supports the program.

Click here for more info

Impatiens
IT'S IMPATIENS HAWKERI PEACH FROST. It's kind of an old fashioned Impatiens with an orchid-like, almost peachy coral flower and variegated leaves. It's stunning and one of the best new Impatiens Steve has trialed. They started with several plants the first year, it caught their eye and it has now graduated to a front bed and is outstanding. It's easy to care for as long as one has shade and adequate moisture.

Click here for more info

Petunia - Supertunia
AN ANNUAL STEVE LIKES FOR FULL SUN IS PETUNIA HYBRID SUPERTUNIA VISTA BUBBLEGUM. It's one of his favorite Petunias. It's very compact, has lots of blooms, a real high impact plant. Steve likes Petunias for their early color. With a lot of annuals one must wait until after the danger of frost to plant. Impatiens are very sensitive. With Petunias one can sneak them out a little earlier and provide a little more color earlier on. These also have a low mounding habit, it's very compact with thousands of flowers covering the plant. They seem to dead head themselves. It's a very low maintenance plant.

Click here for more info

Coleus
STEVE IS ALSO TRIALING A LOT OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF COLEUS. Coleus has been one of their best, high impact plants for the display garden. They have many different varieties. The vegetative varieties tolerate full sun, whereas traditional varieties needed shade and were started from seed. More are now grown from cuttings. They're tough, compact and provide a lot of high impact color, even though they don't bloom. And there are many different types of colors.

Click here for more info

Choosing A Plant
Steve believes that the first thing one should do in creating a flower bed is to make sure to PICK A GOOD NAME VARIETY PLANT. Not just Impatiens, but a good named cultivar. Secondly, select something from a reputable nursery that carries name varieties so you get a good, healthy plant. Then check out the root system of the plant, there is nothing wrong with pulling the plant out of the container. Look for a white, healthy root system that completely surrounds the container. Also, look for strong root stem interface. This area of the plant needs to be thick and full with lots of stored energy. Also, look for multi branching and look for buds rather than a lot of flowers. With these things in place you should get a great start with your plants.

Click here for more info

Preparing The Soil
Steve feels one of the most important things they do is PROPERLY PREPARE THE SOIL. They come in every spring and rototill their beds down as deep as they can get them. Then they use compost. If the beds are heavy, they add compost, either pine finds or any organic matter available to work into the soil. Their rule is - if they can't plant by hand, then they're not ready to plant. Richard and Steve look at the soil in this bed. It is soft and easy to get your hands into the soil. It's also important to plant at the correct depth. Plant at the soil line of the plant. After it's planted they mulch with as product called Pine Fines, it's like a nursery mix that allows them to mulch lightly, the material will work itself back into the soil bed, increasing the organic matter in the soil for the next year. If one follows these steps your beds should be perfect.

Click here for more info

The Rain Garden
THE GUYS NEXT VISIT THE RAIN GARDEN. Their rain garden is located in front of their Education Center. Simply put, the rain garden is an area that captures water from impervious surfaces, like the tops of roofs, driveways, sidewalks, etc., then channels that water, instead of the water going into a storm drain it goes into the garden area. The garden area is depressed about 8 to 12 inches. The cell area needs to be approximately 15% of the area your trying to capture. In the garden they use a good soil mix. If, in excavating, it has heavy clay soil they remove that soil or if it's workable soil they till in 25% organic matter. This ensures good infiltration. It becomes a sponge for the water. They then come in and plant with plants that are appropriate in the wet cell areas.

Click here for more info

Plants For A Rain Garden
For the plants, THEY HAVE USED NATIVES AND SOME NOT-SO-NATIVES. One area has natives, because that's the rage right now. But they wanted to show people different varieties of plants that could be used. In particular, the Echinacea purpurea Pixy Meadow Bright Coneflower is a beautiful plant. The Silphium perfoliatum Cup Plant is a 6 foot towering plant with lots of flowers, interestingly the inside of the leaves hold water like a cup. They also have plants like the Baptisia 'Purple smoke' which is an outstanding garden plant. It blooms in April and May and is one of the most drought tolerant plants in this garden. Some non-natives are used, plants like Leucanthemum x superbum Shasta Daisy which is an excellent variety. Pervoskia atriplicifolia Russian Sage is another. Not all the areas in the rain garden will be wet. So for the higher areas/sides choosing a plant like Russian Sage or Day Lilies is perfectly acceptable.

Click here for more info

The Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Species
THIS DISCUSSION LEADS THE GUYS TO CREW, the Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife. This is the area where they do cutting edge work dealing with the propagation and preservation of endangered species. This is accomplished primarily through tissue culture preservation, with the objective of propagating individual plant species to aid research. The Zoo is doing a lot more than talking about the importance of saving plants. Here they grow plants in test tubes which then allows them to clone plants and increase the numbers of endangered species in a very small space. They work with over 25 collaborating institutions and agencies and propagate over 40 endangered species from around the country. Of those 40 endangered species they're working with, many have separate lines or varieties. It's important to keep them separate. It's important to keep the genetic diversity found in the wild, separated in research, so they can keep those lines going. They do this with genetic analysis. It's almost like DNA fingerprinting of plants.

Click here for more info

 

LINKS:

Holiday Inn - Dayton Mall

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

Wagner Subaru

Garden Smart Plant List


Complete transcript of the show.

20/1607.
Serious gardeners are always seeking the best plants for their yards. A great place to start is at a trial garden. The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is a champ at evaluating plants and trialing them for the landscape.

If you've ever listened to the 90 Second Naturalist on PBS Radio you've undoubtedly heard Thane Maynard. He's the Director of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. Thane tells us about the Zoo and Cincinnati. Cincinnati has a long history. It's an old German town, its heyday was the Victorian Age. That's when Andrew Erkenbrecher helped found the Cincinnati Zoo. That was 1873 and was founded as the Cincinnati Zoological Gardens. A botanical garden was spectacular then and even more so today. The Germans during that Victorian Age built the Music Hall, a legendary hall, it opened the first opera west of the Alleghenies. A lot of good stuff in this area goes way back. Cincinnati is a town with a lot of tradition, a lot of good history and a good future.

There is a lot going on today, for example the Cincinnati Reds are a team that's always in the middle of it, and they are again this season. They have some new pitching and a lot of good hitters. The Cincinnati Bengals is another pro team showing a lot of promise. The town is very much known for the arts. The symphony is the 5th of any city in America and home to the Cincinnati Pops. Erich Kunzel, their conductor, is a friend of the Cincinnati Zoo.

The Cincinnati Zoo is famous for a few things and one is its animal collection. There are certain things here not seen anywhere else. One will find Sumatran Rhinos, no one has ever figured out how to breed them. Stellar Sea Eagles are also found here. They have shows. The Cheetah Encounter is where a Cheetah will run full blast almost everyday. And they have the world's best bird show with swimming Penguins, flying Hornbills, etc. It's really something.

But they're also known for their Botanical Gardens. Steve Foltz and his team do a great job. Steve has a team of professional horticulturists and a lot of volunteers, including Master Gardeners, that keep this garden looking spectacular. All get out there and make it all possible. What one sees mid summer is much different than what one would see mid-April which is their Tulip time. When the Tulips come out the annuals go in, the Gardens are ever changing. Cincinnati is not a big tourist market, as a result many visitors are people that have come here for years and often come many times a year. So having a Botanical garden that's lush and vibrant does a number of things. It's very bright in spring, change it out, bring in the annuals, then it's shady in the summer which is important. It can get very hot in Cincinnati. Having a shady zoo is valuable because one doesn't want to stand in front of Polar Bears that are supposed to be in the Arctic. The Polar bears are in refrigerated water but no one wants to be looking at them when hot. Instead visitors are standing in the shade, so the garden does lots of different things.

Richard next meets Steve Foltz. Steve is the Director of Horticulture and has been here since 1988. He went to the University of Kentucky, graduating with a degree in ornamental horticulture. But his interest in horticulture started in grade school when he had to do a leaf collection of all the trees in the community. One of the leaves he found was a giant big leaf Magnolia. It really excited him and planted the seed of interest in horticulture.

Here, Steve takes care of anything green - from the largest trees to the smallest and most delicate annual beds and everything in between including the animal exhibits and all the new projects. They do their own landscaping so they have the ability to trial new varieties and then share the information gained with the public.

Steve loves his job, it's one of the best jobs in the whole region. In fact, when growing up his Mom said - stay in accounting, there are only a few good horticulture jobs in Cincinnati. She was right but Steve was fortunate and landed one of those good jobs.

Steve would like visitors to take away with them the thought that this is not only a zoo but a botanical garden. Here they can get all kinds of plant information about the different types of trees, shrubs, perennials and ornamental grasses, etc. Many of the plants are labeled, so one can walk through the garden, take notes and find what works and thrives in Cincinnati. They even have a web site, not only on their trialing but also PLANTS THAT GROW WELL IN THE COMMUNITY and what's going on in the region. There one can find what's growing in Cincinnati and doing well. There is a tremendous amount of information on the site. There is a link to that site below. http://www.PlantPlaces.com
Top

THE GUYS NEXT VISIT THE TRIAL GARDENS. They have the trial gardens to, basically, show the public which annuals do well in the greater Cincinnati region. They trial over 200 varieties a year to test which ones can tolerate the heat, the PH, clay soils, things like that. There are different types of trials. The local trials tell the folks what works best locally. Many of these plants will grow all across the country, however. They work with some of the largest companies in the country, but as well work with local nurseries and garden centers so they know what they're trialing here. The nurseries then know what is winning so they can carry that for the public to buy. Initially plants are trialed in the back of a bed, etc. but when the plant takes off and does well, it graduates and gets moved up, even to the main park where it is more easily seen. It's on the podium, so to speak. The staff evaluates the plants as well as Extension Agents from Ohio State University and there are some folks from the Cincinnati Flower Growers Assoc. that do the growing and selling of the plants. So, it's a full circle. The consumers are looking at the pants, so everything is labeled, allowing the public to write down the plants they like. They have a brochure at the end of the year that identifies the winners. They can then take that to their garden centers and buy the plants, this means everyone wins and everyone enjoys and supports the program.
Top

The first bed contains one of Steve's favorite plants, IT'S IMPATIENS HAWKERI PEACH FROST. It's kind of an old fashioned Impatiens with an orchid-like, almost peachy coral flower and variegated leaves. It's stunning and one of the best new Impatiens Steve has trialed. They started with several plants the first year, it caught their eye and it has now graduated to a front bed and is outstanding. It's easy to care for as long as one has shade and adequate moisture.
Top

AN ANNUAL STEVE LIKES FOR FULL SUN IS PETUNIA HYBRID SUPERTUNIA VISTA BUBBLEGUM. It's one of his favorite Petunias. It's very compact, has lots of blooms, a real high impact plant. Steve likes Petunias for their early color. With a lot of annuals one must wait until after the danger of frost to plant. Impatiens are very sensitive. With Petunias one can sneak them out a little earlier and provide a little more color earlier on. These also have a low mounding habit, it's very compact with thousands of flowers covering the plant. They seem to dead head themselves. It's a very low maintenance plant.

This bed is so full there aren't a lot of weeds present. Because the Petunias fill in tight it keeps weeds out. And, it comes in a variety of colors. There is a Petunia hybrid Vista Silver Berry and a Petunia hybrid Supertunia Vista Fuchsia which is a little bit darker in color. But all have that nice compact habit.

Richard feels this bed is particularly effective because they've combined the Petunias with the vertical Pennisetum setaceum in the back which has a little bit of pink. The Colocasia esculenta Elephant Ears with the red stem makes a good combination and provides a lot of harmony. They really work well together.
Top

STEVE IS ALSO TRIALING A LOT OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF COLEUS. Coleus has been one of their best, high impact plants for the display garden. They have many different varieties. The vegetative varieties tolerate full sun, whereas traditional varieties needed shade and were started from seed. More are now grown from cuttings. They're tough, compact and provide a lot of high impact color, even though they don't bloom. And there are many different types of colors. One is called Solenostemon scutellarioides Coleus Sedona. It's almost a brick red in color and really goes with plants like sweet potato vine. It has a deep rich purple underneath and is wonderful as a ground cover. Solenostemon scutellarioides Coleus LifeLime is a beautiful chartreuse yellow. They use the coleus in combination with other plants, plants like the Blue Verbena. The Solenostemon scutellarioides Coleus Dark Star Coleus is another star, it's a beautiful dark rich color, clean, very compact and it plays off plants like Canna Bengal Tiger with its yellow highlights. Another, Solenostemon scutellarioides Coleus Religious Radish is spectacular. It has red blotchy coloration and will sometimes reach 30 inches tall yet still maintain a nice compact form. Dead heading is important for Coleus, one can almost not do without it. For more information about the plants at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden click on their link below.
Top

Steve believes that the first thing one should do in creating a flower bed is to make sure to PICK A GOOD NAME VARIETY PLANT. Not just Impatiens, but a good named cultivar. Secondly, select something from a reputable nursery that carries name varieties so you get a good, healthy plant. Then check out the root system of the plant, there is nothing wrong with pulling the plant out of the container. Look for a white, healthy root system that completely surrounds the container. Also, look for strong root stem interface. This area of the plant needs to be thick and full with lots of stored energy. Also, look for multi branching and look for buds rather than a lot of flowers. With these things in place you should get a great start with your plants.
Top

Steve feels one of the most important things they do is PROPERLY PREPARE THE SOIL. They come in every spring and rototill their beds down as deep as they can get them. Then they use compost. If the beds are heavy, they add compost, either pine finds or any organic matter available to work into the soil. Their rule is - if they can't plant by hand, then they're not ready to plant. Richard and Steve look at the soil in this bed. It is soft and easy to get your hands into the soil. It's also important to plant at the correct depth. Plant at the soil line of the plant. After it's planted they mulch with as product called Pine Fines, it's like a nursery mix that allows them to mulch lightly, the material will work itself back into the soil bed, increasing the organic matter in the soil for the next year. If one follows these steps your beds should be perfect.
Top

THE GUYS NEXT VISIT THE RAIN GARDEN. Their rain garden is located in front of their Education Center. Simply put, the rain garden is an area that captures water from impervious surfaces, like the tops of roofs, driveways, sidewalks, etc., then channels that water, instead of the water going into a storm drain it goes into the garden area. The garden area is depressed about 8 to 12 inches. The cell area needs to be approximately 15% of the area your trying to capture. In the garden they use a good soil mix. If, in excavating, it has heavy clay soil they remove that soil or if it's workable soil they till in 25% organic matter. This ensures good infiltration. It becomes a sponge for the water. They then come in and plant with plants that are appropriate in the wet cell areas.

For the overflow and periods where rain water will go over the 8-12 inch depression they have installed an under drain at the bottom for more drainage. It pulls water out of the cell. This works well for this large area but an average homeowner can use a rain barrel. It can be used to capture rain from the gutters and provides an excellent way to start capturing rain water.

This garden looks mature and lush but it's only 1 year old. They came in, renovated the area, worked the soil, added organic matter and did a good job of gardening. This effort resulted in a beautiful garden one year later.
Top

For the plants, THEY HAVE USED NATIVES AND SOME NOT-SO-NATIVES. One area has natives, because that's the rage right now. But they wanted to show people different varieties of plants that could be used. In particular, the Echinacea purpurea Pixy Meadow Bright Coneflower is a beautiful plant. The Silphium perfoliatum Cup Plant is a 6 foot towering plant with lots of flowers, interestingly the inside of the leaves hold water like a cup. They also have plants like the Baptisia 'Purple smoke' which is an outstanding garden plant. It blooms in April and May and is one of the most drought tolerant plants in this garden. Some non-natives are used, plants like Leucanthemum x superbum Shasta Daisy which is an excellent variety. Pervoskia atriplicifolia Russian Sage is another. Not all the areas in the rain garden will be wet. So for the higher areas/sides choosing a plant like Russian Sage or Day Lilies is perfectly acceptable. Steve is certainly using native plants but at the same time choosing plants that are "the right plant for the right place." That is a smart move. The key is - as long as it's not overly aggressive and not invasive, it's fair game.

The guys move indoors to the Education Center and the first plant they discuss is the Chocolate Plant, Theobroma cacao Chocolate plant. It forms a pod at the stem and in that pod there are beans and that is where chocolate comes from. There are many important plants used in medicine, plants familiar to many homeowners. Catharanthus roses Rosie Periwinkle, the Vinca used as an annual in your yard is one. It came from Madagascar. There is a chemical in the plant that has been used to fight childhood Leukemia and has increased the survival rate from 20% to, now, 80%. Another common plant is Taxus, the common Yew found in many front yards. A derivative of that plant, Taxol, is used as a cancer-fighting drug. There are many plants that are used in medicine, that's why it's important to save endangered species. We just don't know their value in many cases. One never knows what one will find down the road.
Top

THIS DISCUSSION LEADS THE GUYS TO CREW, the Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife. This is the area where they do cutting edge work dealing with the propagation and preservation of endangered species. This is accomplished primarily through tissue culture preservation, with the objective of propagating individual plant species to aid research. The Zoo is doing a lot more than talking about the importance of saving plants. Here they grow plants in test tubes which then allows them to clone plants and increase the numbers of endangered species in a very small space. They work with over 25 collaborating institutions and agencies and propagate over 40 endangered species from around the country. Of those 40 endangered species they're working with, many have separate lines or varieties. It's important to keep them separate. It's important to keep the genetic diversity found in the wild, separated in research, so they can keep those lines going. They do this with genetic analysis. It's almost like DNA fingerprinting of plants. They use a method known as Rapids. They preserve all the tissues and seeds in the area known as the "Frozen Garden." Here they cryopreserve the seeds, tissues, spores and pollen in their frozen garden. They're stored in liquid nitrogen which is minus 320 degrees Fahrenheit. Some of the oldest samples go back almost 20 years. So they know the process is working. The tissues have to be treated to withstand the process. Ideally they want to re-introduce these plants to their natural habitat, or preserve, their natural habitat. This process is meant to be a back up. So, if something endangered becomes extinct, they have the Frozen Garden to back it up. This is important work and one of the few places carrying out this type work.

Steve has a few words of advice to our audience. He believes that zoos and botanical gardens are great places to visit and learn about plants. If ever in Cincinnati come and visit the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. But if you can't visit, visit your local botanical garden. They're great places for education.

Richard thanks Steve. This is a fantastic zoo and garden. We've enjoyed the visit. Thanks Steve.
Top

LINKS:

Holiday Inn - Dayton Mall

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

Wagner Subaru

Garden Smart Plant List

 
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