The Zoo’s Botanical Garden has been alive with energy as our first official botanical garden event, ZOO BLOOMS, made a colorful splash to an early spring and we anticipate a continued mass of electric blooms through May!
ZOO BLOOMS became the largest botanical event celebrated here at the Zoo since our national accreditation as a botanical garden back in 1998. It also was considered the largest tulip festival in Oklahoma, and its colors stretched throughout 130 acres of the Zoo. We planted a mix of over 100,000 tulips, daffodils, hyacinth and other species to create a spring blooming event that has significantly enhanced the natural landscape of the gardens.
Although, the spring season developed quite quickly and we saw tulips emerge quite early, the gardens still have a fantastic showing. Much thought went into the specific color blends associated with each mass planting, and each week brought new flower colors that took the place of the early and mid-season blooming tulips.
Our staff of zoological horticulturists, volunteers and an army of squirrels started planting our tulip bulbs last November when the ground temperatures dropped to around 65°F. It took almost a full month to prepare the garden beds with soil amendments, plant each bulb at the proper depth and properly mulch the mass plantings. Seeing the amazing benefits of this significant horticultural accomplishment has been tremendously rewarding. Guests still have a few weeks to catch some award winning photographs before the botanical garden transforms into the scenes of summer. Be sure to share your photos on social media using #OKCZOOBLOOMS.
Come see what has been “growing on” at the OKC ZOO and catch our new “First Friday Garden Tours”, on the first Friday of each month through October. Garden tours will meet in the Global Plaza near the Guest Services office at 10 a.m. before proceeding on the tour. 2017 First Friday Garden Tours are May 5, June 2, July 7, August 4, September 1 and October 6. Tours are free with paid Zoo admission.
Also, our Spring Plant Sale is back! Be sure to visit the Zoo to purchase fresh and beautiful botanicals straight from the Zoo’s own botanical collection, as well as some colorful annual favorites, from May 12 - 14 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Global Plaza. The sale kicks off on May 12, which is National Public Gardens Day, and Zoo Horticulture Curator Lance Swearengin (that’s me!) will host two garden tours during the day. Get more details by calling Guest Services at (405) 425-0262.
– Lance Swearengin, Zoo horticultural curator