Rites Of Spring

Florida’s propensity for flowering beauty is evident in its very name. Christened La Florida (The Flowery) by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon in 1513, the state lives up to its name every spring as it comes alive with flowering plants of all shapes and colors. Nowhere today is Florida’s flowering beauty more evident than at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.

Saturate your senses with practically every hue found in nature’s palette at the 23rd Annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival held from March 2 through May 30. Due to its amazing popularity, the festival has expanded from the usual 75 days to 90 days and is truly an event of nature that you and your family will cherish for a lifetime.

The 300-acre theme park, including both Future World and World Showcase, will be dressed for spring with a dazzling display of topiaries, flowers and exotic plants from all over the world. More than 100 beautifully created topiaries will dot the grounds as hundreds of thousands of bedding plants and hundreds of floating mini-gardens turn Epcot into a rainbow of color and beauty. Flower towers will abound adding to the park’s already world-famous natural beauty.

The festival will also include a series of Garden Rocks music concerts, interactive play zones for children, Ask an Expert horticulturists conducting seminars and offering tips for better home gardening, a Floral Sun Garden, the English Tea Garden, Tinker Bell’s Butterfly House, Mike and Sulley’s Monstrous Garden, a new play area featuring topiaries of Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald and Pluto, great farm-fresh food offerings found in the outdoor kitchens and more.

Guests will be greeted at the park’s entrance by new topiaries of Huey, Dewey and Louie as they join their Uncle Donald and Aunt Daisy. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Parks Service, there will be a Ranger Mickey topiary in the Future World exhibit. Behind Spaceship Earth, visitors will find the breathtaking Floral Sun Garden filled with a dazzling display of yellow flowers and plants, and mini-gardens await discovery around every corner.

This international festival takes the immaculately manicured grounds of Epcot to a whole new level of beauty. Disney master gardeners who created the dazzling displays will be available to answer any questions and give free advice for creating your own Florida-friendly garden at home. Be prepared to get your hands dirty as you dig into the hands-on seminars presented by these and other world-
renowned horticulturists.

The Garden Rocks pop concerts will be held at the outdoor America Gardens Theatre with a tribute to American pop music of the last four decades. Festival-goers will be delighted with this year’s new food, beverages and sweet treats that can be found at the beautiful outdoor kitchens. When the sun sets, a nighttime light display will illuminate topiaries and play areas for the children, creating a memorable after-dark experience for everyone, regardless of age. This is truly family-friendly entertainment at its best.

The festival, including all programs and exhibits, is included with regular Epcot admission. Visit epcotinspring.com for more information.

Instant Attraction

Love butterflies?Here are some plants and shrubs that will help them flourish and feed in your garden:

(Asclepias syriaca L.)

(Pentas lanceolata)

Black-eyed susans (Rudbeckia hirta)

Shrimp plant 
(Justicia brandegeana)

(Echinacea purpurea)

(Hamelia patens)

Glossy abelia 
(Abelia x grandiflora)

Sweet almond bush (Aloysia virgata)

Want to attract hummingbirds? Plant:

Yellow jasmine (Gelsemium sempervirens)

Confederate jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)

Chaste tree 
(Vitex agnus-castus)

(Callistemon spp.)

(Hamelia patens)

(Rhododendron Pentanthera)

Firecracker plant 
(Russelia equisetiformis)


Feed Your Flowers

General care for bulbous flowering plants in sub-tropical Florida soil:

Make sure the soil remains moist

Fertilize twice yearly

Mulch to control weeds

Remove dead blooms prior to seed production

Most thrive in sunny areas

Provide good soil drainage

Add in organic matter prior to planting

Properly control insects and plant disease

Posted in Marion Features

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