Garden News

Rare Wildlife Encounters at KBG

easterbunny“It seemed like a good idea to bring back the Kruckeberg family tradition,” Emily Sprong, Program Director at Kruckeberg Botanic Garden (KBG) said hesitantly. “No one expected biodegradable eco-eggs to do anything other than melt away.” During the month of March, KBG held a month-long Easter egg hunt. KBG staff chose to hide eco-eggs, which are compostable and made from 100% renewable sources. Although three eggs were ultimately unaccounted for, the staff weren’t concerned about searching for the missing eggs because of their sustainable content.

On Easter morning, Rowland Adeniyi, KBG caretaker, took an early morning stroll down to the meadow and found a pink bunny hopping through the garden. “I thought that was odd,” he said. Something odder still was just up the path. As he continued his walk, he heard a cracking sound…and witnessed a purple bunny hatching from one of the eco eggs that had been hidden in some lilies. “The third bunny is mint green,” said Adeniyi. “And all three of them like to nibble on licorice fern, Indian plum, and Oregon grape.”

The staff contacted the makers of the eco eggs. “The person who answered the phone was surprised that we had not read the fine print,” said Executive Director, Brianne Zorn. “Apparently it cautions against leaving these eggs out in the rain for extended periods of time. Just like a seed…if you water them, they will grow. Isn’t that ironic that KBG even got Easter eggs to grow?”

The Eco-egg staff also warned Zorn that the Easter bunnies reproduce quickly. Sure enough, within 24 hours, a new egg had been laid. Pure Easter bunny offspring, however, are significantly different than the first generation. With a thick layer of sugar crust, these fluffy second generation Peeps™ come in yellows and blues. “Luckily the rain has stopped, which has kept our Peeps™ strong and healthy,” said Zorn. “They leave gumdrops behind for human children to collect and enjoy.” KBGF staff have added gumdrop collection to the list of tasks for kids at the Weed and Feed volunteer work party scheduled for April 7.

Rabbit Meadows, a nonprofit shelter for small animals in Lake City, has offered to collect the first and second generation bunnies and put them up for adoption with local families. In the meantime, Dr. Art Kruckeberg, who just celebrated his 93rd birthday, is excited about the genetic research opportunities at KBG. “What might a third generation Easter Bunny egg look like? Chocolate shell with creamy center?” he mused. The children of Richmond Beach can only hope.