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Immersion Horticulture for Zoos

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I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. As part of putting our toes back in the water during these difficult times, Team Making It Grow is looking for outdoor places to film. Recently, we visited Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in Columbia. There’s a special branch of horticulture for areas that involve animal exhibits. Melody Scott Leach fills that role there and she gave us a fascinating tour and explanation of that subset of gardening. The trend began in the 1980’s with the idea of immersion horticulture for zoos. Instead of just choosing plants for a beautiful display, the exhibit designers and horticulturists strive to recreate as nearly as possible an enclosure that provides animals with a semblance of their natural environment and choose plants for outside the enclosure that also reflect the areas of origin but will thrive in the climate of each zoo’s location.