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Miss Piggy Prepares for Her Festival Close Up
A Disney topiary design specialist works behind the scenes at the Walt Disney World Horticulture Center to put the final touches on Miss Piggy, Kermit and other topiaries for the 21st Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

Disney Green Thumbs Behind Festival’s Blooms

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Mar. 25, 2014 - A lot of mulch, sweat and shears have gone into the 21st annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival presented by HGTV.

For the past year, a team of 400 gardeners, horticulturists and landscape architects has been keeping their green thumbs busy preparing for this 75-day festival. From designing displays and scheduling expert presenters to caring for the 500,000 plants, trees and shrubs, this dedicated team ensures visitors to Epcot leave entertained and inspired.

Perennial favorites of the festival, all of the nearly 100 whimsical topiaries start as a wire frame. Cast Members bring these creations to lifeusing some 25 different plants including fichus, palm fiber and multi-colored mosses that grow from within. Each topiary is meticulously trimmed at least once a week throughout the festival to maintain its shape.

“Topiaries are always one the most anticipated elements of the festival,” said Eric Darden, the horticulture manager who oversees the Epcot event. “Everyone involved with the festival understands the important role of topiaries and takes great pride in making sure they closely resemble our beloved characters.”

Nearly 30 million blooms blanket the park during the festival, including:

  • 700 container gardens of flowers, herbs, plants and vegetables,
  • 225 floating mini-gardens and
  • approximately 70,000 bedding plants in Future World alone.