This exhibit, presented by HGTV, is a partnership between Walt Disney World and the Florida Nursery, Growers, and Landscape Association, or the FNGLA. The exhibit features cultivars grown specifically for the central Florida area (think water saving varieties) and for sale elsewhere in the US.
All told, more than 200 new plant varieties were on display, cultivated by more than 21 breeders and all propagated/grown by Riverview Flower Farms and Knox Nursery. 39 beds were created for the performance trials, and each bed became home to 4" plants. The plants were added to the ground 6 weeks before the trials, which took place May 12th and 13th and the landscape Imagineers were responsible for the care and feeding leading up to the trials.
Each plant was scored based on percentage of bloom, color uniformity, height uniformity, and disease resistance and assigned a score of Superior, Excellent, Good, or Poor. Of the 200+ plants, most scored in the Excellent or Good range with twenty receiving a Superior rating while only two received a poor rating. (Full results are available here.)
Needless to say, the combination of so many plants in one spot was amazing to the eye and pointed out that while Epcot's original emphasis on education has been watered down over the last 29 years it still provides guests an opportunity to learn. Let's hope this first annual performance trial continues as part of next year's Flower and Garden Festival and that some of these award winning plants find their way into our yards.
The good folks at FNGLA posted this video showing the transformation of the trial area into a finished product :
These photographs were taken by the author in May 2011.
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