Post last updated: August 13th, 2018

Nancy and I went to the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens and it tried to kill us. Stick a fork in us, we were done in two-and-one-half hours. Granted, it has been a few years since we last enjoyed the exuberance of youth but finished off in two hours? I think the plant sale, which was in an open area with no shade, was the cause of our near-demise. But gee, the plant sale is why we went.

The Zoo also tried to make off with my wallet. Geezers like me get a discount on the admittance fee but the discounts end there. Each time you buy one of the additional tickets, they strap a paper bracelet on your wrist. We looked like escapees from a mental hospital with all the different colored bracelets. The red bracelet made us look especially dangerous.

Zoo tickets – $15.95 per Geezer just to get in the door;
train was an additional $4; Butterfly Hollow $2.

I would highly recommend Zoo train tickets for Geezers so you don’t find yourself too pooped to walk yourself out of there. The train conductor said the Zoo was on 130 acres, 90 of it developed along the Trout River. The Zoo map was rectangular-shaped with one of the short ends at the Trout River or about 7 inches. The long end of the rectangle was almost 16 inches. I was never good at higher math but that 16 inches must surely be more than 40 acres (higher math: 90 x 40). Most of the Zoo could be reached from the Main Path which runs through the middle of the animal exhibits but the map did not mention how many MILES you would be hoofing if you took that path and all the side paths off of it.

At the plant sale, we learned that 5,000 plants we didn’t get to see left the Zoo with new owners the previous day. Heart-wrenching. There’s no telling what we missed but I’m not good with crowds. We even arrived at 9:30 a.m. to avoid crowds.

Here’s my garden loot:

plant sale purchases
My plant sale purchases from left to right clockwise – Milkweed ‘Silky Gold’; Cleome hybrid ‘Senorita Blanca’; Hummingbird Bush; Jumpseed

The milkweed was purchased because I was re-inspired by Cee’s monarch hatching. I had a lot of fun several years ago watching the caterpillars grow and become monarchs. The cleome was not a particularly wise choice because it’s an annual but it was $5 and a foot taller than its one-gallon pot. I have loads of seeds if I had time to plant them. I purchased the Hummingbird BushAnisacanthus, because a Zoo employee was raving about it as a hardy bush for bees, birds and butterflies. The Jumpseed, or Pink Knotweed, caught my eye. The leaves have a dark chevron marking with odd pink blooms standing above the plant (it reminded me of the Eyeball Plant). It is a shade-loving perennial. The Zoo was growing it in the Butterfly Garden as a groundcover. Research indicates some people grow it in hanging pots or above-ground arrangements where it can cascade downwards. However, some forms of it can be invasive and since it is not clear to me whether or not I have the invasive variety, I will grow it in a pot.

The Butterfly Hollow had the largest, healthiest stand of geraniums I have ever seen. It was about 3 feet tall and growing in a 4 or 5-foot long row and is probably red to match another plant growing near it. Then again, it might be white for contrast:

Geranium leaves

I’ve always wanted to grow Pincushion flowers and I have the seeds but let’s not talk about all the seeds I’ve purchased that have never made it into the ground. At least now I know, from the Butterfly Hollow, that it grows as a low groundcover. I believe the Zoo had the annual version, scabiosa atropurpurea because the flowers were very small. There’s also a perennial version, scabiosa caucasica, , that has 2 to 3-inch flowers.

Pincushion flower
Unknown vining plant; it was at least 6 feet tall and growing in a 6-8 foot row

The remainder of Zoo plants I photographed were in the Asian Bamboo Gardens which also had several plein air painters working in the garden. I didn’t photograph the artists because I would need permission and did not want to disturb them.

Angel Mist Bamboo
Dendrocalamus minor ‘Amoenus’
native to South China


more Angel Mist Bamboo


Parker’s Hawaiian Giant Bamboo with bloom stalks
origin uncertain


Didn’t see tag, but looks similar to Parker’s Giant


Didn’t see tag; striped bamboo

These are the only animals I got close enough to photograph and wouldn’t you know it, they weren’t even awake:

Flamingos napping just before noon

Obviously, I liked this as much as someone at the Zoo. It was near the Zoo’s train station at the Trout River.


26 thoughts on “PLANT SALE AT ZOO”

  1. Sure looks like you covered a lot of territory. Your photos are very clear. The flamingos look just like the pink ones on a post my neighbors have stuck in the ground ! Still the composition had a lot to recommend it. Glad you did all the walking. This geezer would probably not have done so well.

    1. Ginny – My knee amazed me! I’m ALMOST at the 4-1/2 month mark and the knee never gave out on me. The heat got to me. The flamingo photo had two different compositions but one bird in the back, in full sun, got washed out in both those photos so I didn’t use it.

  2. I haven’t been to the Jacksonville Zoo in quite a few years. Thank you so much for sharing the beauty with us!

  3. That’s one large zoo! And one large plant sale! Glad you found a few treasures, and hopefully had some fun despite the heat. The hummingbird bush sounds like a beauty.

    1. Indie – The SIZE of the plant sale is hearsay as far as I’m concerned. Unless I were to read it in the paper or on their website, I’m not necessarily a believer. Getting skeptical in my geezerism. The hummingbird bush is not blooming so it doesn’t look like much right now. Glad you stopped by to see me!

  4. Glad we went, enjoyed all the plants for sale as well as the zoo plants. After all the sun, especially enjoyed the train ride in the shade and nice breeze. A great feature of the plant sale was the free plant pickup service. These 2 Geezers didn’t have to lug the plants with us through the rest of the zoo. After we finally made it to the car, we drove to the other side of the parking lot where our plants were waiting for us.

  5. What a great trip thanks for taking me along. I didn’t have to walk miles or sweat buckets! Bamboo is amazing – so many different varieties. I’m not familiar with Jumpseed, so I’m going to go look that up. Also, flamingos are my favorite and I have yet to see one in person — other than the dozen plastic ones I have scattered all over my yard. Yes, tacky I know. I enjoyed your sleeping bunch. xo kim

    1. Kimmie – feel no shame that you have pink plastic yard flamingos. I have one, too. They are an American icon! And because they are, we do all sorts of crazy things with them. Loysetta and I are mail artists. We used to mail crazy things to each other, unboxed. About 25 years ago, I mailed a significant number to her daughter, who placed them in her yard for a milestone birthday (we were young back then). We then developed our own Fine Feathered Friends of Flamingos club and much hilarity ensued as we mailed all manner of flamingo art back and forth. Here’s a little history about their creator —

      1. Linda – Thanks for the link to the history of pink-flamingo yard art; very interesting did not know this. I was born and raised in Miami where pink flamingo’s graced a lot of lawns. Some parks had flamingos. Of course, the zoo and Hialeah Park Horse Race Track is also known as Flamingo Race Track because of the large number of flamingos they have in the infield. In fact, it was deemed a National Audubon Sanctuary to protect the majestic flamingo which inhabit it.

        1. Nancy – That’s cool. You didn’t even TELL me all this as we stood there looking at them. Now you think of it! What was most memorable to me about the Zoo flamingos was you and I looking at each other and deciding we were cooked.

  6. Ha! I was just at the Zoo last month while visiting my parents. After a Cleveland winter, I started roasting when the temps hit 75 and I thought I would die of heatstroke. I wouldn’t call myself a Geezer just yet, but that train pass was mighty tempting.

    I’m loving your garden loot! I’ll be working on a small one here at the new house, trying to figure out how to fend off the deer while catching the limited sun that shines on my yard for 4 hours a day. And dodging the backyard poop my appreciative dogs leave in the backyard. Always an adventure.

    1. Dena – I’m so glad to hear from you! It has been a long time since you surfaced anywhere on the ‘net. You reckon every zoo has a train and is it for the kids or the geezers? Do some research on deer-proof plants — they exist!

      1. That you went to the zoo after getting out of a mental hospital. I think it’s amazing that folks thought you were normal.

        1. Gypsy – That’s not what I said! The wrist bands made us LOOK like we were escapees from a mental hospital. Big difference. Still, I am grateful every day that I haven’t been packed off to the loony bin. It always seems like a ripe possibility.

  7. Looks like you got some great plants, and the adventure was way more exciting than a trip to the nursery! I laughed at your comment about the mental hospital bracelets. I had the same experience during my recent trip to Gibbs gardens. I love all the bamboo images. Since my property is cursed with invasive bamboos which fight with English ivy and kudzu for world control, I will never plant one, but they are beautiful.

    1. Hi Deb – It’s my understanding that we should plant “clumping” bamboo which is supposedly not invasive. However, I don’t trust the stuff. What if it reverted back to the invasive kind? Nope, nope, nope. Not planting anything on this property that might get away from me. I thought kudzu was only in Georgia. Guess it jumped the state line. I didn’t photograph it but they had clumps of bamboo in a sizeable area with leaf mulch on the ground underneath. It was very shady and children seemed to love walking through there.

  8. I know you went for the plants, but you should have also checked out some of the animals.

    1. Priss – We did. We rode the train around 1-1/2 times and we saw all kinds of animals. Some were close, some far away. And what about the flamingos? Those are animals!

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