If the Little Shop Of Horrors ranks in your top-ten movie list, you don’t want to miss the new Savage Garden at MOSI. With the help of Worm’s Way and their plants, MOSI plans on opening a new carnivorous plant exhibit soon! This new exhibit of carnivorous plants isn’t as scary as the name implies. The plants aren’t savage. Though called carnivorous plants, they most certainly won’t reach out and bite your child’s arm off. They are NOT the sharks of the plant kingdom.
When you read “carnivorous,” you think insects. Unlucky flies and insects, not people, that visit these plants, can end up being dinner for a carnivorous plant. Though the largest carnivorous plants occasionally trap bigger prey like lizards, frogs, mice and small birds, these larger plants aren’t included in the Savage Garden exhibit. So no worries, animal lovers. Any little critters hanging out at the MOSI exhibit are safe from these plants.
Located inside the MOSI BioWorks Butterfly Garden, the carnivorous plants are showcased in a large raised display area. Most carnivorous plants grow in wetlands and bogs, so the plants are individually potted on a grid designed to allow each pot to sit in the depth of water best suited to the particular plant. Running along the background of the exhibit is a large piece of grapevine wood with attached native spanish moss, ball moss, tillandsias and other epiphytes. Rocks and logs complete the look of the ecosystem.
An irrigation system pumps water from the large BioWorks pond into the display. Carnivorous plants are very picky about the type of water they demand. Well water or tap water won’t work. The irrigation systems cycles the pond water through the plants and mists them from above so the plants stay cool enough in the summer. They are also very picky about their environment in general.
The plants seem to be happy and thriving in their new MOSI home so far. They are grouped by type with Saracenia species, pitcher plants, on the right side of the exhibit. On the left are Venus Flytraps, Sundews, Butterworts, and Bladderworts. A very special large Tropical Pitcher Plant hangs above them. Why is it so special? Jeanne Coleman donated it! Jeanne and her husband are the sponsors of the Savage Garden exhibit.
Visit this living experiment in growing these tricky plants outside their native wetlands and bog environment. You and your children will be fascinated and come away with a keener appreciation of these misunderstood plants. And don’t forget to drop an email to Jeanne letting her know you enjoyed the exhibit. It’s the kind of giving back to the community that is both a core value for Jeanne personally and for her south Tampa family law/dependency/social security practice helping Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Hernando County families for over 25 years.