Floral Clock Marks 100th Centenary of Edinburgh Zoo

Submitted by edg on Fri, 19 Jul '13 11.17pm

A team of gardeners, using 40,000 plants, took two months to create this year's animal themed floral clock marking the 100th anniversary of Edinburgh Zoo.

The popular visitor attraction, and functional timepiece, was unveiled in Edinburgh's West Princes Street Gardens earlier today in the form of the zoo's centenary logo.

The display will now be judged as part of Edinburgh's entry in the annual Britain in Bloom UK finals competition in August.

The horticultural artwork, which has a different theme each year, has been a popular feature in the gardens since park superintendent John McHattie designed the world's first floral clock in the Capital in 1903.

"Horticulture is intrinsic to Edinburgh Zoo, both historically and today," said Simon Jones, Curator of Plants and Head of Sustainability at Edinburgh Zoo.

"Long before the 1913 inception of Edinburgh Zoo, the site was home to Thomas Blaikie whom designed the famous French gardens of La Bagatelle and was also the understudy to Capability Brown. Today Edinburgh Zoo boasts beautiful display gardens and one of the most diverse tree collections in the Lothians, which we also combine with the discipline of zoo horticulture, focusing on habitat creation and growing food stuffs for animals."

Edinburgh Zoo Centenary Day

Edinburgh Zoo marks its 100th birthday on Monday 22nd July with a line-up of special events. 

Actor John Hannah will be opening the newly renovated Koala Territory, which is home to Alinga, Goonaroo and Yabbra – the UK’s only koalas. The Koala Territory opening will be a closed function for special guests and patrons, however the enclosure will be open to all visitors during the afternoon.

Various events will take place around the extensive penguin enclosure, which was revamped in the zoo's centenary year: a one-metre-high three-dimensional 100 sign will be placed in Penguins Rock, waddling ground for the Society's gentoos, rockhoppers and kings collections.

There will also be a life-size, three-foot tall sculpture cake of a king penguin on display on the front lawns. The cake sculpture, made by local Corstorphine business 3D Cakes, commemorates the Zoo being the first collection to successfully hatch king penguins outside the southern hemisphere.

Every child to visit the Zoo on Monday will receive a free animal mask to wear and there will be 100 fluffy panda toys hidden throughout the park for visitors to find and keep.

For each of the daily education talks Thomas Gillespie and his wife, in full period costumes, will be on hand to explain how the Zoo has changed over the past 100 hundred years and answer questions.

A montage of birthday messages in which former Edinburgh Zoo staff and supporters share memories and thoughts about the role of the zoo, will also be on display.

Speakers include wildlife expert Chris Packham, geologist and broadcaster Prof Iain Stewart, conservation scientist Prof Andrew Balmford, Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith, Scottish entrepreneur and business man Sir Tom Farmer.