Topiaries at the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival: A Photo Tourby Donald and Bonnie Fink, contributing writer
The 25th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is underway, and this year we thought it would be fun to concentrate on the real stars of the festival, the topiaries. They're not necessarily new this year, for the most part, but we only get to see them during the festival, so it's good to get out and enjoy.
Part of our fascination with the topiaries is because we spent some time way back a few decades ago trying to cultivate topiaries of our own, from our home in central California. All we can say is that it was a total and complete failure. It seems that raising topiaries is a full-time job, and we already had jobs at the time.
Here are our favorite topiaries from this year's International Flower & Garden Festival. They're not necessarily new, but they're always a treat.
Minnie, Mickey, Pluto, and Goofy welcome guests to the 2018 Flower & Garden Festival. There are over 30 varieties of flowers, plants, and other garden materials in this scene, so even though it's at the very front entrance, it's worth a stop to take it all in. Nothing like a first impression. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
Did you know there are over 500,000 plants, trees, and shrubs planted for the Flower & Garden Festival each year? Of those, 250,000 are annual blossoms. This year, because the festival runs for 90 days, there will be two crop rotations to keep the flowers fresh for the entire event. That seems like a lot of effort, but that's Disney.
There were over 400 horticulturists needed to transform Epcot into the Flower & Garden landscape we see during the festival, and it takes 100 cast members dedicated to maintaining the gardens.
The name "bromeliad" refers to the kind of plants that are used to make up this display. Bromeliads are a family of succulent with a wide range of colors, from green to deep reds and purples. There are over 3475 species of bromeliads that grow mainly in the tropical Americas. Interestingly, pineapple is a bromeliad.
There are 15 outdoor kitchens with over 70 different beverages and 40 featured food items. One outdoor kitchen to be sure to see is the new Honey Bee-stro. It's located along the walkway from Future World West to Showcase Plaza. The kitchen is sponsored by the National Honey Board and features dishes like their local wildflower honey-mascarpone cheesecake with orange blossom honey ice cream. For a beverage you might try a honey-peach cobbler freeze, served with blueberry vodka.
We can't forget the Garden Rocks Concert Series. This year you'll find old favorites like Herman's Hermits (May 4 through May 7), but you'll also see seven new artists. We're looking forward to Jo Dee Messina, being country fans like we are. She's appearing on April 20 and 21.
Whatever your pleasure might be at the 25th Epcot International Flower & Garden festival, be sure to stop and admire the flowers and especially the topiaries. When you're standing in the American Adventure pavilion admiring the topiary of Woody, the Shipyard Maple Stout you might be sipping might just seem normal.
Here's a quick video we made while we walked through the Flower & Garden Festival enjoying the topiaries. Those of us who spend time at Disney tend to overlook these incredible works of horticultural art, but they're remarkable and fun to admire. Video by Donald Fink.