March 9, 2016
As a gardener I am always looking for inspiration for what to plant next. I'm constantly on the lookout for fresh plant varieties, fresh plant combinations, new ways of growing plants, and new ways of communicating with people about plants. If you're like me, you get your inspiration from magazines, websites, friend's gardens, or public gardens. When it is spring I look forward to attending the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival at Walt Disney World.
Their world class horticulturalists plan far in advance to blow gardeners' boots off with impressive displays of plants and materials at the festival and this year is no exception. The theme is "Epcot Fresh" and there are plenty of fresh ideas there to inspire you. I was especially impressed with the vegetable gardening demonstrations. They showed vegetables growing in repurposed pallets, lined plastic milk crates, and in an aquaponics system with big fish.
The succulent display near one of the children's play areas was beautiful. Here they combined a mass planting of 'Gray Lady' sansevieria and Texas sage—the combination of the gray tones was stunning. I would have never come up with that idea. Also in the succulent area they had a new plant for me. I have grown Adam's needle (Yucca filamentosa) but not Eve's needle (Austrocylindropuntia subulata). I am going to have to try that one.
The Nature Conservancy has sponsored a pollinator garden with tons of great blooming plants to support bees and other beneficial insects, and in that space they have elaborate purple martin gourd house racks. All were being used. I want to try that too!
The famous topiaries are there in force with your Disney favorites presented a little differently. Patchwork quilts of flowers and floating color containers adorn the lakes close to the festival center. When you stop into the festival center, be sure to say hello to the Florida Master Gardeners staffing the MG booth. And try to catch a great presentation from one of our Extension Agent experts on great topics such as vegetable gardening, growing herbs, container gardening, and composting.
If you are looking for new ideas and inspiration, find some fresh ones at the Epcot International Flower and Gardener Festival, running from March 2nd to May 30. It's Epcot fresh.
-- Wendy Wilber