Monday, May 16, 2016

Aaaand.....we're back!


You may have noticed that I was conspicuously absent for the past couple of weeks.  Well, once again, my husband wanted to get away in April – didn’t I say last year that we would never go away during one of the busiest times of the season?  It could have been worse, I suppose, had we gone a couple of weeks later when transplants were bursting out of their pots, needing to get into the ground, and I wasn't around to take precautions should a late frost be predicted.

Now take a wild guess where we went…


And you’re right!  We were at Disney….again.  Surprisingly, the destination was my husband’s choice, not my kids.  And how did he persuade me to leave when I was up to my eyeballs in garden related chores on the “to-do” list?  This is how:

Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

Yup – tell me we are going to a festival that focuses on gardens and flowers and then, to top it off, book a spot for me on the “Behind the Seeds” tour at The Land greenhouses and I’m pretty much putty in your hands.  He knows me well :)


The Garden and Flower Festival at Disney is a 12 week event (extended this year from 10 weeks in the past) at Epcot that has been held every spring since 1994.  In addition to the outdoor displays, there are also talks & demonstrations by experts with different themes being focused on each week.

Festival Center where many of the talks & demonstrations are held

Unfortunately, we missed the "Florida Fresh" theme on edibles which was in the last week of April. In fact, I ended up missing the talks/presentations at the Center altogether as they are only held at specific times on the weekends and as there always seemed to be a conflict and/or we were just too far from the Center to reach it in time - Epcot covers 300 acres, so you can see how that would be an issue!

But the Festival Center was only a tiny part of this event.  There was a LOT to enjoy throughout Epcot - and my camera received a real workout.  I'll apologize now for some of the photos - we had a couple of overcast/rainy days (read: GREAT picture taking weather!), but for the most part, the Florida sun shone.  Great for us, not so much for the photos.

There was no mistaking what was happening at Epcot the moment you walked through the gate:

Entrance at Epcot

And just behind Daisy and her produce stand was one of my favourite displays in the festival:

Farmers Donald, Huey, Dewey & Louie surrounded by fresh produce & flowers

This display looked amazing with all of the ornamentals & veg growing together.  No need for signs for us veg gardeners, but I'm sure many folks were more than intrigued by what was growing, having only been exposed to supermarket shelf produce.

Rainbow Chard

Heading Cabbages

And obviously lettuce doesn't care that it's growing at Disney - it will bolt in hot weather just like it does for all of us common folk:

The nature of lettuce....

The topiaries at Epcot were exceptional.  Disney doesn't do half-measures, so not only were the figures themselves amazing but they were each placed within a "scene" that perfected the display.  This is just a tiny taste as they were over 100 topiaries (!) throughout the park:






The Festival is not so much about the flowers (i.e. unusual varieties, etc) such as what you would expect to see at a botanical garden, but more about educating people on how plants, flowers and gardens add to our wellbeing.

Field of Cleome

I particularly liked that each display contained helpful, practical information that everyone can understand and apply in their own lives, regardless of their level of experience:

Together with the displays of bromeliads & orchids,
the info on this sign definitely has me considering adding a couple to the bedroom

The above sign was in the Festival Center together with numerous orchid and bromeliad displays.  Bromeliads were planted throughout the park, but I particularly loved this variegated one:

Variegated bromeliad

And in addition to the orchids within the Festival Center, there was an impressive display entitled "Extraordinary Orchids" that took up an entire walkway in the Mexico area of Epcot:










There was inspiration everywhere throughout the park:

Perhaps it's because I'm rather challenged when it comes to potted plants,
but I loved, loved, loved this display

Even the rock walls joined in on the theme:


Many of the flowers & plants are obviously for a warmer (winter) climate than what we have here in Ontario, but that doesn't keep me from appreciating their beauty:

Magnolia Grandiflora
A few perfect blooms remain after a heavy rainfall

As someone who had a hard time growing sweet potatoes last year, I couldn't help but notice the abundance of sweet potato vines growing effortlessly as groundcovers in various areas of the park:

Sweet potato envy.... :)

Throughout Epcot, plant displays were grouped by category.  One of the first that I came across was a section on Prehistoric Plants.  I'm always enthralled by history, botanical or otherwise, and you can't get much further back than that!




Chama Cyad
Dioon edule


Autumn Fern

The spores have a definite prehistoric feel to them, don't they?

Cardboard Palm
Zamia furfuracea

Horsetails


Holly Fern

Coontie
Zamia pumila

Norfolk Island Pine
Araucaria heterophylla

And I think I'll leave it at that for this post....but not to worry!  I'll be doing a few more posts on my visit to the Festival in the weeks to come.

Back in Canada, I’m glad to report that there were only a few casualties on the garden front.  All of my seedlings in the basement, which had received a good soaking on the morning that we left, were still alive on my return.  I can’t tell you how nervous I was as I went down those basement stairs, dreading the thought of seeing trays of wilted seedlings.

Outside, everything looked pretty good as well except for one broccoli seedling that mysteriously vanished (all the others were fine) and I have a few more gaps in my onion bed than I should have - it looks like the weather may have been a bit too dry for some of the tiny seedlings.  In fact, all of the beds were quite dry as we had only had one day with a bit of rain.  On the bright side, there was no bunny damage - I had not yet put up the fencing that was removed when we had the spruce tree cut down, so my fingers were crossed that the peas & favas I sowed in those beds the week before we left were up and growing and didn’t serve as rabbit food. 

I fixed some netting that blew off one of the onion beds, watered all of the beds and trays…and the very next day I was slapped with a whopping head cold which left me pretty much useless for a few days, so there is a lot to catch up on.  I'm planning on doing  an update on what’s going on in the garden this week – a lot has happened in the past month (even before our trip) and I guess I’ve been concentrating so much on the “doing” that I’ve fallen behind when it comes to writing about it.

BTW - did I happen to mention how I was able to take such a leisurely tour of Epcot and the Festival?  Well, it was a Mother's Day gift - my husband took the kids for the day which left me to explore at my own pace.  Now that I think of it, he's set the bar a bit high and Father's Day is coming up....better start working on some ideas ;)

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things” ~~ Robert Brault

35 comments:

  1. I'm guessing Disney! More photos please. Love these you posted..makes me smile. Good to be home though, isn't it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, boy MORE photos is much too easy of a request! :) I find that narrowing down which photos to use is always the most time consuming part when it comes to writing posts on gardens I've visited. And there will be several more posts with LOTS of photos to come!

      Delete
  2. Well, I did miss your posts, and I'm happy to hear you were having such a wonderful time and nothing went wrong!

    The first Disneyland out here in Anaheim always had admirable plantings, but what a different time that was -- masses of bedding plants and well-trimmed little box hedges.

    What you've shown us is wonderful. I like it, I like it a lot. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed the post, Jane! I have this paranoid streak in me which tells me not to announce when we are going on a family vacation. And the fact that I totally - more or less ;) - unplug when we are away doesn't help matters either & I just hope that most readers know that if I'm not posting AND not commenting, that likely means I'm away.

      I didn't really pay much attention to the plantings when I first went to Disney as a kid in the 70's but I have a feeling they were quite similar to what you describe. Yes, times certainly have changed.

      Delete
    2. I think you are quite right not to announce you are away!

      Delete
  3. Sounds like you had a great time! The Disney places are not really to my liking, but even I have to admit that they don't do anything by halves! I know what you mean by the "scary moments" when you check on plants you have left unattended. We have just been away for a long weekend and it was very hard to decide what to do with my chilli and tomato plants - protect them from the forecast frost? Keep them out of the greenhouses so that they didn't get fried with temperatures in the high teens C? Fortunately I only had one casualty from the weather - though the blooming badgers dug up some of my radishes, and one or two other bigger plants.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We did have a wonderful time, but I think this will be it - my husband's thirst for Disney has been quenched, for the time being anyhow :)

      We didn't get home from the airport until after dark, which drives me a bit crazy as my first impulse is always to immediately drop the suitcases and rush outside to see what has been happening in the garden. As you say, it is difficult to decide what to do when you go away - I'm glad that you ended up with relatively few casualties...and from the looks of your harvest, you have more than enough radishes to spare!

      Delete
  4. Sounds like you had a grand time at Epcot! I missed your posts too and hoped you were off somewhere having fun. I'm glad the plants were ok when you got back. That is always one of my biggest fears too, especially this time of year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Dave - I think I'll give up saying that I won't go away at this time of year again as that doesn't seem to work :) But each time I learn a new lesson or two on what I should/shouldn't do. Delaying sowing the tomatoes last year was a big mistake so this time round, I grew them and took my chances that they would be ok for when we got back...which, thankfully, they were!

      Delete
  5. Brill pics! I had no idea they have a plant festival there. It's great they include plenty of edibles too....and like the others I'm pleased to hear you didn't lose too many plants whilst you were away :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Land greenhouses are full of edibles - it was such a huge surprise (& treat!) when I first saw it last year. Going away always causes a bit of anxiety when it's during the season - if it was up to me, our holidays would ideally fall between November and January ('cause the season starts in February when the onions are seeded, much to my husbands surprise) :)

      Delete
  6. What a great treat to have a holiday combined with your interest in gardening! Some of those displays are amazing - I also love the Huey, Duey, Louey farmers with Donald Duck. Very cute.

    And great news about your seedlings in the basement. And glad to hear outdoors wasn't too bad as well ... it was a very dry time in Ontario the past couple of weeks and I've been out watering pretty regularly myself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm making more and more of an effort to incorporate some sort of gardening related sightseeing whenever we go somewhere, although in this case, no effort was required!

      I can't wait until I have all of the water lines installed - it will make things just a bit less stressful when we go away. I would probably worry nonetheless - water is but one out of so many things that can go awry when you're not around (and even when you are!).

      Delete
  7. Replies
    1. Thanks! It's almost as much fun to look back at them as it was to take them :)

      Delete
  8. Oh I know how you feel, I put my foot down and told my husband that I won't leave for a major vacation during tomato season after we went away in September for 3 weeks and I came home to a garden full of rotten tomatoes. And I won't go away for more than a few days at this time of year either for the same reason you were so concerned about, it's seedling season. It looks like you got away leaving the garden on its own and it was well worth it, what amazing displays you got to enjoy. I'm looking forward to seeing more about your trip and your spring garden.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Michelle! Thankfully, I was lucky this time - the cool weather worked in my favour. With the lack of rain, had it been warmer, the story may have been very different.

      And yikes - 3 weeks?? I have heart palpitations over 7 or 8 days! If our climate was that mild, I would be hard pressed to find any good time to go away for that long.

      Delete
  9. I've never really thought of flowers and gardening in the context of Disney. No wonder your husband managed to drag you away. I didn't know that about orchids and bromeliads.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had never associated Disney with gardens either & was quite surprised when I learned this festival was over 23 years old!

      Delete
  10. Well, I admit--when I first read you went to Disney, I was going to nominate you for Sainthood or declare you crazy---but OH MY!!! I had no idea they would have anything at all about plants and gardening. Now I want to go.....

    And last year-hubby wanted a MONTH LONG TRIP---one day after planting out my gardens. One day aftr planting????????????. And who is going to water ALL THAT????????? NO ONE.
    I think Mother Nature took pity on me and timed out rains just perfectly.
    But I told him NEVER AGAIN. I stressed the whole time on how we wouldn't have anything to eat all winter. Men! Maddening....and wonderful.
    Have a terrific week

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, you are TOO funny, Sue!! I'll be the first to admit that the only reason we went to Disney the first time was for the kids. Had it not been for them, we would never have thought of going their ourselves. It was a very pleasant surprise & definitely one of those rare cases where our expectations were not only met, but exceeded.

      I remember your trip last year & was quite frankly amazed at what you came home to - I didn't realize it was right after you planted it up...double yikes! I'm thinking that one counts as a downright miracle considering I can't go longer than a few days (it seems) without dragging those dang hoses around!

      We are getting some actual May-like weather this week - I hope that you are too! It's about time the weather caught up to the calendar :)

      Delete
  11. I wondered where you were but as it's a busy time of year for sowing, transplanting and potting on, I thought you must be otherwise engaged but no, you were off enjoying yourself. I love Disney, we've been twice and even though the kids are now grown up, I'd love to go back. It's even more appealing when there's a garden and flower festival being held there. What a wonderful Mother's Day gift, and not only do you get to visit but you get to visit at your own leisure and take your time over it. Glad to hear that the plants survived whilst you were away and looking forward to hearing more about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel exactly the same way about Disney - my husband has already mentioned that he would love to go there, just the two of us...perhaps when the kids are in college. I can only imagine the changes that will take place between now and then.

      Touring gardens with the kids & a husband in tow, all of whom would rather be on a roller coaster than examining every little detail of this or that planting is definitely NOT what I would call relaxing, so having that time to do as I pleased was amazing. It's not like I can just scoot over there during the weekend like I can to the local botanical gardens!

      Delete
  12. Far better place to be than around here the last few weeks. Not much outdoor gardening got done. Given the garden festival and veggie displays you saw, I think the trip could be considered "research".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hee hee - coming from the tax expert, I'm hearing "write-off" ;) Yes, it's been pretty miserable here - but things are finally looking up (although every time I say that, I end up eating my words a week later).

      Delete
  13. Oh, what a perfect gift! Your hubby is smart (and kind)! I loved the orchids. And it must have been fun to see all the creative displays of edibles. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's only taken 16 years, but I think he's finally catching on ;) The entire festival was so much fun - I'm glad my husband "twisted my arm" when it came to going away at this time of year.

      Delete
  14. WOW! What a neat adventure and what a wonderful Mother's Day gift! I had no idea that Epcot had festivals like this. I absolutely LOVE touring gardens like this. So sorry you got a headcold but what good news that your seedlings managed fine without you (that would have definitely made me feel a bit stressed as well).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Leaving the garden to fend for itself is always stressful as you just never know - all it takes is one day with bad winds and trellises could be down (taking the plants with them) or netting blown off.

      I so enjoyed Epcot - even when the Festival wasn't on last year, it was by far my favourite park. Well worth a visit when Milo is bit older. And maybe you could time it to coincide with the Festival :)

      Delete
  15. It is always hard for us gardeners to leave our gardens but it looks like it was well worth it for you! Love the gardens and so nice of your husband to give you a day by yourself to enjoy! Glad to hear that most everything left at home did well! Nancy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Nancy - it was a relief when I went outside the morning after we got home and everything looked basically fine. Big sigh of relief!

      I think most gardeners appreciate time to themselves when exploring a garden - I'm glad that my non-gardening husband understands and even encourages that :)

      Delete
  16. I wondered if you were taking a blogging break, but it's great you were enjoying the Florida sun instead. The trip looks amazing, and I'm glad your plants did well while you were away. It's probably the perfect time of year to visit before the summer crowds.

    I've been to Disneyland in California a few times, but I really liked Six Flags Magic Mountain and their roller coasters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The two times we went - early September & late April/early May were definitely great when it came to both weather (not too hot) & crowds. We got fast passes for the more popular rides and the most we had to wait for any of the others was 20 minutes or so (most were less than 10 minutes), which if you've been to Disney is a not long at all.

      When I was a kid and into adulthood, I always stuck to the east coast of the US - probably because it was easy. But with my trip to Minneapolis this July for the Bloggers Fling, that's finally going to change & I'm so excited! I can see a trip to Disneyland (& Six Flags!) in our future :)

      Delete
  17. What a fun vacation!! It's hard to beat spring in Florida after a long Canadian winter. :o)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You said it! And it certainly didn't hurt that our "spring" weather here, while we were away, was decidedly unspring-like!

      Delete

I appreciate and thoroughly enjoy all of your lovely comments :) Please note that in order to foil those pesky spammers, comment moderation has been enabled for older comments.