pluto-beach-party--epcot-flower-and-garden-festival-718750Those in the Tampa area will be happy to know that the 17th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival at Disney’s Epcot theme park is here. The park transforms into waves of deep violet  pansies with lush courtyards, vegetable gardens and playgrounds. Though some of the pre-festival plantings were lost due to January freezes, the park is still adorned with magnificent plantings.

Many gardeners venture to the show to learn how to better grow plants. The golden dome in Future World offers speakers, tips from experts and take-home goodies each Friday through Sunday.

Some other events to check out while you’re at the festival include:

The “Great American Gardener” series – noon and 3 p.m. each day:
Tom MacCubbin of the Orlando Sentinel will be joined by his wife Joani as speakers from April 23 to 25. National celebrity Ahmed Hassan of DIY Network’s “Yard Crashers” is scheduled to speak May 14 to 16.

“Gardening at Home” program – at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. each Friday through Sunday. Up to 70 participants can create a take-home project. The first project will showcase Easy-To-Do Water Features and guests will create an aquatic dish garden.

Fragrance Garden in France tours – 2, 4 and 6 p.m. daily: Guests can sign up for 20 minute tours of the garden in addition to smelling different Guerlain perfumes at “dip and sniff” stations. Kids can join too and search for Guerlain “bees” in a garden scavenger hunt.

English tea garden guided tours – 4 and 6:30 p.m. Mondays – Thursdays and 2, 4 and 6:30 p.m. Fridays-Sundays: Guests can learn the art and history of tea blending through a guided tour of an English tea garden at the United Kingdom.

Flower Power concerts – 5:15, 6:30 and 7:45 Fridays-Sundays: Concerts featuring oldies favorites including Tony Orlando and Davy Jones will be held at the American Gardens Theatre.

For families who want to take advantage of this outdoor sensation, the festival runs through May 16 and is open daily from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. Admission is $61.20 for ages 3 through 9 and $71.10 for ages 10 and over. Epcot admission includes access to the flower festival attractions. For an additional $59, ages 16 and older can enjoy a special three-hour Gardens of the World tour hosted by a Disney horticulturist. For more information, call 407.938.8687.

For a complete schedule and map of the festival, visit and click on “2010 Flower and Garden Festival Guide.” Disney also has a Horticulture Hotline available at (407) 938-3900, or you can e-mail

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