Capitol Corridor
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Posts Tagged: gardens

Horticultural Highlights of Disney

If you knew my family, you'd know that we are big fans of all things Disney. Recently, we took a trip down to Disneyland for a short family vacation. We love the rides, the atmosphere, the music, and the characters. But…my absolute favorite reason to go is to soak up the gardens!

We spent more than a fair amount of time in lines this trip, which is fine with me as it gives me more time to study the gardens. For example, while waiting for the Buzz Lightyear ride, I was able to enjoy the herb garden planted in a small raised bed. Rows of thyme, sage, basil, rosemary, and oregano. The Haunted Mansion gardens are planted with a variety of dark-colored grasses, annuals, and perennials. Pansy, Sweet William, iris, tulips, and cosmos are just some of the flowers in black, dark purple, chocolate, or burgundy that they use. Take a ride on Storybook Land and you'll find an entire garden in miniature. They even have a "quilt" done entirely in succulents. Disney parks gardens are planted in masses, rows, groups. Nothing is random. 

Who hasn't gone there and noticed the huge hanging baskets of flowers? The animal topiaries around It's A Small World? Even the riot of flora and fauna along the Jungle Cruise ride is carefully planned, planted, maintained, and changed. After you start paying attention, you realize just how much detail has been tended to. Visit any other amusement park, but you will not find any with gardens that can hold a candle to those at Disney parks. Probably one of the most well-known family photo spots is the iconic Mickey Mouse head of flowers as you enter the park. That one particular icon alone requires 24,000 annuals a year!* Disney has 650 horticulturists tending the gardens of Disneyland and Disney World.* You would be surprised at how many impressive garden and landscape statistics are available that people visiting don't even consider. I own a number of books (mostly gifts!) on the gardens of Disney. They provide me with inspiration when I need it.

Someday, one of the things on my own personal "bucket list" is to visit the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival held in Florida every spring. Until then, our family and I will continue to make the drive to Disneyland and enjoy the gardens.

*Markey, Kevin. Secrets of Disney's Glorious Gardens. New York: Disney Editions, 2006. Print.


Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2012 at 9:21 AM
Tags: Disneyland (1), flowers (20), gardens (8), plants (38)

Vallejo Home Garden Tour

Greetings, I spent this past Sunday as a docent for the annual Vallejo Garden Tour.  I spent the day at an historic bungalow on Napa Street.  The owner has converted her wrap around front and side yards into a successful edible garden. She and her "rent a husband" removed about a foot and a half of the existing clay soil and brought in garden soil. They built up mounds for raised beds and brought in many half barrels to house a variety of greens, herbs and vegetables of all sorts. Two existing trees, an ancient willow and a palm, were removed after failing simultaneously. Now citrus and fruit trees have found a place in this bountiful garden. The owner adds her compost to the soil twice a year and has established an elegant drip system that takes care to supply just enough water directly to each plant.  This organic garden is maintained by feeding the soil rather than the plants.  What a refreshingly beautiful result. It doesn't hurt that original art appears in the inner courtyard among the tall (yes already in May) stalks of corn and exuberant Yellow Fin Potatoes.

This home is located in a neighborhood of graceful homes mostly built in the 1800's. The overall garden isn't that large, but what this urban gardener has accomplished is truly inspiring with her wrap around space.

What I have found over the past three years viewing the many gardens on the Vallejo Garden Tour is a real sense of artistic endeavor coupled with ingenuity and effort to make a place of accomplishment. These results  have expressed a desire to grow a healthy community and share a spirit of joy to all that care to take a look.

Next time you have a chance, spend some time in your local community gardens, you won't be disappointed.

Yellow Fin potatoes. (photos by Trisha Rose)
Yellow Fin potatoes. (photos by Trisha Rose)

Sweet maui onions.
Sweet maui onions.

Veggies and a Meyer lemon.
Veggies and a Meyer lemon.

Posted on Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 8:54 AM
Tags: compost (12), gardens (8), soil (18), Vallejo Garden Tour (4)

Exercise and thoughts

Many of us, me included, enjoy getting out of the office or house to go for a walk to get the heart pumping for a little exercise.  My walks afford me a vacation from daily stress while providing me with the opportunity for an adventure through Solano’s garden oasis.  I try to take a little different path each time I venture out so that I can feast my eyes on all the horticultural aspects my surroundings have on display. While I explore, I am tantalized by the immense creativity gardeners have and I am even more mesmerized by natural landscapes that somehow create art without much human intervention at all.  I often forget I am “exercising” because while I move my thought stream around how visually captivating the landscape is.  I enjoy the lingering uplifting effects that the gardens intrinsically inspire me. While I am out enjoying the landscapes, I find myself wishing that I was the proud parent of some of the more unique foliage I encounter. It occurs to me that the general public is an eclectic group, often times reinforcing the phrase “ignorance is bliss”.  An example was seen when I walked past a front yard full of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis someone just planted in mid-October in Vallejo. I think that I have pretty liberal feelings toward gardening ignorance and personally give an A grade for those who display much effort at all.  When someone plants their most favorite subject in the most incorrect place horticulturally-speaking, I tend to let it slide but sort of chuckle inside.  So what if you have to pull them up in 45 days because the seasonal climate change slaughtered the whole batch?  During those 45 days, I appreciated the graceful ignorance that killed them, but most especially those very first days when those Hibiscus rosa-sinensis were still in their warehouse store garden department prime.

Posted on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 8:13 AM

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