Sunday, December 5, 2010

Don't Eat the Edibles of Tomorrowland - A Botanical Tour of Disneyland

Going off on a little bit of a tangent, today we will venture out of my very idiosyncratic DIY garden, and instead look at the super professional gardens of Disneyland. A cynical person might say this is probably because I didn't get any work done this weekend and these were the only photos I had to share. Well, they may be right, but don't you want to know why you should never eat the edible plants at Tomorrowland?

So here's a little album and commentary of plants from my trip...

Before this weekend, I hadn't been to Disneyland in nearly a decade. Lots had changed. (What happened to the Country Bear Jamboree!!?) But the thing that really stuck out to me was how the landscaping had evolved. In my head, when I think of the gardens at the Disneyland of my youth, I think of neat little hedgerows, perfect beds of annual flowers, and topiaries shaped like all the different Disney characters.

Those old fashioned plantings were still there, but there were also ornamental edibles, native plants, and so much more! Some of these plantings were probably always there, but I just never noticed before because I was too young and too high on sugar treats to care at the time. But some of these plantings I really think have been modernized to include a larger and more complex assortment of plants.

I first started noticing the landscaping in Tomorrowland. Imagine my surprise as we waiting in line for Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, when I noticed that the plant arrangements next to me weren't the typical assortment of boxwood, et al., and instead were neatly planted and trimmed kitchen sage, rosemary, and citrus plants! Then later I saw more beds of herbs and veggies. Below is a combination of rosemary, lavender, strawberries, oregano, and tricolor sage.

A picture of ornamental kale and thyme is below. I even saw some broccoli growing! You know, when I first saw all this, I was really excited. I thought, this is great, Disneyland can show people that growing veggies can be pretty too. Well, there's a bit of a downside to this story. In talking to an employee, it turned out that they use a lot of pesticides to keep the plants looking so pretty and bug free. Since they don't really have to harvest these plants, that seems fine. But apparently a lot of visitors try to eat leaves from the veggies and herbs because they look so good and the employee has to stop them all the time so they don't make themselves sick with the pesticides. That doesn't seem like it was very well thought out, especially with a bunch of kids running around.

So maybe the edibles thing has some kinks they need to work out. But there were plenty of other interesting plantings too. Here'a few photos from around the Matterhorn...

Couldn't figure out this bush. My guess is some sort of buckwheat?

This flower drove me nuts because the leaves totally looked familiar but I couldn't quite place it, and the buds hadn't opened so I couldn't figure out what it was. Some fern, achillea, and oregano below...

Adventureland had a lot of fun tropical/subtropical plants. Here's a few photos from the Jungle Cruise. I couldn't figure out what everything was, but that's definitely some tree philodendron off to the right.

There were really pretty arrangements of epiphytes hanging from the trees. Mostly bromeliads, I think.

The photo above has nothing to do with plants.

A container arrangement of bromeliads above, and an assortment of ferns, kangaroo paws, and some other stuff below.

I noticed a lot of cast iron plant being used in really shady areas next to the lines like below.

Oh and here's a really impressive arrangement of bromeliads and vines in front of the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse. Or I thought it was that, until I saw it is called Tarzan's Treehouse now. Country Bears and Swiss Families are on the outs with Disney apparently.

Then I went on to Frontierland. Here's a really interesting mix from a container near the Zocolo restaurant with poinsettias and succulents and a really pretty white fuzzy leaved plant I didn't recognize.

Above is a pretty desert landscape with agaves and yuccas and such, and below was a planting of sages near the Big Thunder Mountain ride.

It got dark soon after and I didn't get any more plant pictures so that's all I've got for now. I'll try to post something more practical next week...



  1. Nice post! It seems unlikely that you can find edible plants at a theme park, so this is amazing!

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