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Golden Age of Topiaries at Epcot

Updated: 20 May 2013 : 07:13:35 AM

Complex, detailed greenery in comical poses are the signature of the famed Disney World’s topiaries that theme-park guests enjoy.

Engineering marvels, these architecturally beautiful topiaries are designed to survive high winds and pesky squirrels.

Part of the history of Disneyland, these topiaries are part of the custom 50 years ago this month and were added to Walt Disney World in 1971.

These are now one of the primary features at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival every year.

Walt Disney

Walt Disney was captivated with these beautiful green sculptures during a trip to Europe and wanted to add these to Disneyland but didn’t want to wait for the time it took for a tree to grow and be trimmed into the shapes.

He worked with Bill Evans, the landscaper that worked on Disney’s home in Southern California and devised a method of using steel and rebar to encourage the trees to grow into the shapes.

Elaborate Designs

The first Disneyland topiary, a hippo, was seen in 1963.

These topiaries are now an anticipated feature at new hotels and special events.

The original plain green forms are more elaborate designs today with a slow drip water system built-in.

They include many natural items such as begonias, seeds, and palm fibers and when required, the steel frames are reused and modified.

Squirrels are one of the natural predators, but the curiosities of guests tend to create more damage.

So visit and enjoy the topiaries and take photos, but try not to handle these beautiful natural creations of art.

By Marie Ospina

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