By Nina Evans
Each exhibit created at the Indianapolis Zoo is accompanied by a new landscape that is designed to complement it. The garden spaces within and surrounding animal exhibits are intended to not only be attractive, but to be safe for the animals and to mimic the natural habitat of the animals that call the Zoo home. When you visit Sharing One World: Long-tailed Macaques exhibit, cozied between the Oceans and Dolphin buildings, you will see its plantings meet these goals.
Because these monkeys are native to Southeastern Asia, the landscape around the macaques exhibit has a decidedly serene, Asian feel. Many of the plants included are species and cultivars native to more northern Asian climates so that they are hardy enough to survive our winters. A bonus is that quite a few of them are new additions to the Zoo’s botanical collection!
Flowing Japanese forest grass, spikey-flowered lilyturf, and silver and green Chinese ginger (Hakonechloa macra ‘Albo Striata’, Liriope muscari ‘Big Blue’ and Asarum splendens) form a pleasing ground cover layer in front of the exhibit. A mass of autumn ferns, with its pretty orange to pink new fronds, surrounds the dramatic reddish new leaves of rodgersia and the glowing yellow presence of Japanese spikenard (Dryopteris erythrosora ‘Brilliance’, Rodgersia podophylla ‘Rotlaub’ and Aralia cordata ‘Sun King’). Dwarf flowering almond and hardy azalea shrubs display beautiful pink blooms in the spring (Prunus glandulosa ‘Rosea Plena’ and Rhododendron ‘Rosy Lights’), while Japanese maple trees provide three season interest with bright, ferny leaves in the spring, fantastic fall color, and striking form and bark in the winter (Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’, A. japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’ and A. palmatum var. dissectum ‘Tamukeyama’). And your eye may be caught by the green-striped shoots of a yellow groove bamboo (Phyllostachys aureosulcata ‘Spectabilis’), its roots encircled by concrete to confine its spread.
This is just a smattering of the botanical feast for your senses of the landscape inspired by our Asian macaques. Look for these plants and so many more — some old favorites, many totally new and unique — surrounding Sharing One World: Long-tailed Macaques!
Pick your day. Pick your price. Pick your package. Prices online are cheaper than at the gate.