Landscapes with Good Taste, or Ones That Taste Good? (over Easy)
Remember as a child poking french fries in your ears, or flinging peas with a spoon? Playing with food is a much-practiced pastime for children of all ages. Like a typical toddler, animals in the zoo like to entertain themselves with whatever's handy -- in some cases, their food.
At the San Diego Zoo, long revered for its excellent landscape plan, plants are chosen for their appeal to the animals as food. From hibiscus and acacia to ficus, eugenia and mulberry, a veritable garden of plants are on the animals' menus.
The San Diego Zoo retrieves plants from a variety of sources, and it all must be pesticide-free. A large portion of the material comes from Miramar Wholesale Nurseries. While many of Miramar's specialty trees and plants grace some of San Diego's finest landmarks, their "browse" materials are a hit with the zoo's animals.
"In peak season, we can go through more than 1,000 linear feet of hibiscus in a week" says San Diego Zoo arborist Daniel Simpson. …