From Eric Darden, Area Manager, Horticulture, Walt Disney World Resort and posted on the Disney Parks Blog.
During the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, guests often ask our gardeners and cast members how Disney creates the spectacular, multi-hued container gardens displayed across the park.
If you’ve been wishing upon a star for a green thumb this spring, here’s how you can decorate at home with colorful pots of blooms that look like they were grown at Walt Disney World Resort. We don’t mind sharing our secrets!
- Be creative with containers – even a galvanized bucket, wheelbarrow or dry fountain will work, but be sure it has good drainage. Plants will drown without a drain hole, so drill one if needed.
- Use high-quality potting soil. Avoid products like top soil or garden soil, and skip the compost when planting a container.
- Choose healthy plants at the garden center. If plants are turning yellow or spindly, don’t use them. Pull a plant from its container to check the roots – if you don’t see white roots, choose another one.
- Have some fun with your plant choices. Don’t be afraid to mix bright colors like orange and purple for a hot spot of color. Try cool, blue blooms to build a soothing container of calm. Or combine herbs and vegetables with flowering plants – a pot of petunias mixed with fennel can be striking and useful in the kitchen when your recipe calls for an herb.
- Remember this rhyme popular with savvy gardeners to create a striking pot of color: Thriller, filler and spiller. Your “thriller” is the plant that really pops as the star of the container; “filler” adds color surrounding the star blooms; and “spiller” is planted around the container’s edges to spill over the sides, adding additional drama.
- Add a good, slow-release fertilizer. And, after you complete the planting, fertilize it with a water-soluble fertilizer every couple of weeks. This tip may be the most important if you want your plants to have that pixie-dusted quality.
- Don’t water too often. Use your finger to test the soil. If it’s damp, there’s no reason to add water.
- Know your plants and whether the plants you choose like full, partial or no sun, then place the container where it will live happily ever after.
Visit the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival through May 17 to get container-garden design ideas for your home. Maybe I’ll see you in Italy!
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