0306ZX_0244MS-640x426 Floral versions of Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto and Donald Duck (with Daisy Duck in a cameo) star in a celebratory cookout scene in living topiary color at the Epcot front entrance during the 20th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival,(Matt Stroshane, photographer)

The 20th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is running March 6 to May 19, 2013 at Walt Disney World Resort. For Garden Travelers headed to Orlando, it’s the perfect venue for gardening inspiration – especially if you have any interest in topiaries. Or, even if you haven’t in the past, these marvels by Disney magicians impress.

Did you know that it takes 400 Walt Disney World horticulturists to install the festival’s landscape, topiaries and exhibits, along with 100 Epcot horticulturists to maintain the topiaries and other festival displays? And, more than 500,000 plants, trees and shrubs are planted for the festival.

For gardening enthusiasts, there are 150 hands-on gardening demonstrations and seminars. In addition, here are just a few exhibits that are new this year:


The Land of Oz Garden:(Gregg Newton, photographer)

  • The Land of Oz Garden, based on Disney’s “Oz The Great and Powerful,” is the largest festival garden ever, at nearly one-third acre.  There’s a “yellow brick road” that includes 40 feet of “yellow brick” decal, 40 feet of ForeverLawn yellow turf and an 80-foot-long floral path planted with 1,200 yellow viola plants, (that will be swapped out with tropical duranta plants in April).
  • New Disney character topiaries this year  include  Mike and Sulley, plus Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Cinderella, Belle and Beast, and Phineas and Ferb. At least 25 different plants, grasses and mosses of various colors, including pink and red begonias, dusty miller, palm fiber, palm seeds, ficus and lichen, are used to create festival topiaries.
  • Tinker Bell’s Butterfly House has more than 1,000 native butterflies, representing up to 10 species.  Among the garden’s two dozen nectar plants are Cape Royal plumbago, passion flower, coral honeysuckle, blazing star, butterfly bush, scarlet milkweed and canna lily. There are eight fairy topiaries of Pixie Hollow, including Tinker Bell, Fawn, Vidia and Terrence.  On the Imagination Walkway

Every Friday through Sunday, HGTV design celebrities will host Festival Center seminars. The festival, including all gardening programs and exhibits, is included in regular Epcot admission.