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Brian Bennett

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International Flower & Garden Festival - Photo Tour - Part I

Photos by Barbara & Brian Bennett
Article by Barbara Bennett (BarbAnneB@aol.com)

In Part II,  Barbara discusses topiary, Victoria Gardens, hanging baskets and towers, and more!

In Part III, Barbara takes us on a photo tour of more great Epcot topiary!


Barbara Bennett, at the Festival Marquee in 1999.

The eighth annual International Flower and Garden Festival is returning to Epcot from April 20th to June 3rd with over 30 million colorful blooms! Having had the privilege of attending this event in both 1998 and 1999, I'm greatly anticipating its return in just a few weeks.

I have always loved gardening. With much help from our parents, my sisters and I started a family greenhouse business 14 years ago as a way to earn the money we would need for college. Although college was over for me in 1989, each growing season finds me hanging out at the greenhouse, designing and planting containers, and helping customers design their own flower beds. Perhaps it is this background that makes me so intrigued about Disney gardening.

"Instant Color" along the World Showcase promenade.
"Instant Color" along the World Showcase promenade.

Disney gardens are always showpieces, but during the International Flower and Garden Festival, Disney master gardeners outdo even themselves year after year. Many areas of Epcot are totally transformed into amazing works of horticultural art.

In 1998 visitors to Epcot were greeted by a full re-creation of an African savannah, complete with several topiary giraffes. This theme celebrated the opening of Walt Disney World's fourth major theme park, Animal Kingdom.

Animal Kingdom topiary, the new park was the theme of the Festival in 1998.
Animal Kingdom topiary, the new park was the theme of the Festival in 1998.

Spaceship Earth was also honored with its own topiary frame that same year.

The Spaceship Earth topiary.
The Spaceship Earth topiary.

This partierre garden can be seen across from France, on the International Gateway canal. It is always a beautiful sight! Partierre gardens seem so intricate, yet are fairly simple for home gardeners to re-create in whatever design suits their fancies.

The International Gateway partierre, right across from the France Pavilion.
The International Gateway partierre, right across from the France Pavilion.

One of my all-time favorite gardening discoveries at Walt Disney World came in the form of this wall of irises at the Japan Pavilion in 1999. This structure was absolutely breathtaking, and, as you can see from the building behind it, over a story high.

The lotus wall, in front of the Mitsukoshi store in the Japan Pavilion.
The lotus wall, in front of the Mitsukoshi store in the Japan Pavilion.

A closer inspection of this "behind the scenes" photo clearly shows the secret behind this masterpiece. The structure is made of four-inch potted plants arranged to create the Lotus Wall.

The secret of the lotus wall.
The secret of the lotus wall.

The Rose Walk between Future World and World Showcase is designed each year as Flower and Garden Festival central. One side of this walkway is filled with gorgeous roses of all varieties.

One of the spectacular roses along the rose walk.   (The rose walk runs between Imagination! and the World Showcase Promenade -- connecting just below the Canada Pavilion.)
One of the spectacular roses along the rose walk.

The rose walk runs between Imagination! and the World Showcase Promenade -- connecting just below the Canada Pavilion.

The other side of the walk contains several small tents filled with novelty wares that tempt gardeners. Also here is the main tent used for many of the gardening workshops.

The pond between the walkway (which connects Future World and World Showcase) and the rose walk.  You can see some of the roses in the foreground.
The pond between the walkway (which connects Future World and World Showcase) and the rose walk.  You can see some of the roses in the foreground.

Along this same pathway is a small, nondescript-looking information booth. Make sure not to miss this on your visit. It contains both event information and schedules, as well as a treasure trove of information for all gardeners. Many handouts are available here, including step-by-step instructions for creating the Floating Garden above and shown closer-up below.

A Floating Garden.  These floats are anchored, so they don't move around the pond.
A Floating Garden.  These floats are anchored, so they don't move around the pond.

You can also get great suggestions for re-creating some of Disney's awesome container gardening masterpieces such as the ones shown here.

Container Garden, note the use of brilliant color in front of a rather plain background.
Container Garden, note the use of brilliant color in front of a rather plain background.

Container in France Pavilion.  This container was designed to blend in with the background flower bed.
Container in France Pavilion.  This container was designed to blend in with the background flower bed.

A hanging basket at the Rose & Crown.
A hanging basket at the Rose & Crown.

In Part II,  Barbara discusses topiary, Victoria Gardens, hanging baskets and towers, and more!

In Part III, Barbara takes us on a photo tour of more great Epcot topiary!

Click here to return to the Epcot Touring Page.

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