Children’s Zoo Garden

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Snail flowers in the Children's Zoo gardenLocated at the Children’s Museum, this colorful garden is planted with annuals, perennials, and a few small shrubs and trees. Each of the plants has an animal or insect in its common name such as dogwood, elephant ears, butterfly bush, snail flower, and turtlehead. Many of the plants also play with the senses, such as the soft, fuzzy lamb’s ears or the cat mint’s fragrant foliage.

When you enter our Zoo Garden you will find many flowers. One flower that we love is the Snail Flower (Phaseolus caracalla). This flower looks like a bunch of pink and purple snails and its scent is very fragrant, like baby powder.

The Snail Flower is a plant from South America. Many of the plants that gardeners love are from areas that are far away. In history, people bring plants with them when they move. Sometimes people would bring plants on boats or by foot.

Native Plants

TCardinal Climber flowers in the Children's Zoo gardenhere are many plants in the Children’s Zoo garden that are native to New England. Native plants are in their natural environment and learn how to grow in an area without the help of people. Some native plants in this garden include:

Beebalm (Monarda didyma)
Beebalm is a native New England plant that has deep red flowers. Bees love the smell of the flowers, and because of this, Beebalm is very often covered in bees! There is a bird that loves Beebalm as well, can you think of which it is?

Turtlehead (Chelone lyonii)
Turtlehead is another native plant in our Zoo garden. Its purple flowers look like an open-mouthed turtle. Turtleheads are plants that like to grow near streams and ponds. Can you see why it is named Turtlehead?

Crabgrass, are you a weed?

Crabgrass is welcome in the Zoo Garden. This plant is very strong and grows fast by putting roots out all over the ground. These roots soak up all the nutrients or food that other plants use to grow.

Crabgrass is a friend in the Zoo garden because of its name, however, in any other garden it is an enemy. Since crabgrass grows very fast and strong it is called a weed. Weeds are plants that are unwanted by the gardener, but also by other plants. They compete and fight with other plants to take over their space and soak up all the nutrients. Crabgrass, don’t leave the Zoo Garden!