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Behind the Scenes: Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Debbie Mola Mickler

by , Disney Horticulture

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Hi everyone, I’m Debbie Mola Mickler from Disney Horticulture. In about a week, (March 3rd) the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival will be opening. And there’s no better way for us plant lovers to spend the day than at Epcot during the festival. Now in its 17th year, this festival will have more topiary, container gardens and flower beds filled with color than ever.
Behind the Scenes: Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
Backstage at the Walt Disney World Nursery things are moving, or should I say growing, quickly. Topiary, one of the main stars of the show, is getting their final touches in preparation of making their move to Epcot. With so many new plant varieties available to the horticulture industry our Disney topiary are really “coming to life.”
Behind the Scenes: Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival
So, how do we create signature Walt Disney World topiary? To produce one of our sphagnum topiary it takes a lot of imagination and a few good horticulturists to put it all together. It all starts with a Disney Imagineer who designs a maquette figure. From there, a skilled welder forms the frame, an irrigation specialist adds watering mechanisms and then our Gardeners will stuff and plant the frame. This whole process can take several weeks and depending on the plant material it may take a while to grow, filling out the frame. To make the topiary appear more life-like we create faces or embellishments from dried mosses, palm fibers and even seeds.

We are asked quite often, “How can I create topiary at home?” There are many great online resources available to purchase the pre-made topiary frames, just type in “sphagnum topiary” to any search engine. You even can buy them pre-stuffed with sphagnum moss; just water and add some plants. These online topiary frames are not as big as our 14 foot tall Goofy, but if you know a good welder anything is possible.


  • I would love to have a Mickey and Minnie on the small size topiary for my garden..anybody know where to get them?? Are they even made??

  • I am absolutley thrilled to be coming to WDW , I am a vetren Disneyland. Unfortunatley we do not arrive until the 5/16 so our first day in the parks will be 5/17…I am so hoping some of the flowers and topairys are still out. By the way a few years back Disney shopping sold Micky, Donald, and Pluto large wire frames which are now the centerpiece of my front yard. Stuffed them with moss and plugged with a small ivy that grew nicely and pinned and trailed it as it grew around the character. Now all they need are
    a good soaking in the summer and some trimming with small electic
    trimmers to keep their shape year round.

  • Will be there March 13-19 and can’t wait to see the wonderful work of these artists

  • Will be there 2nd week of May. Everything is so beautiful!!! Can’t wait for the warmth. Indiana weather is so unpredictable!!!

  • I’ll be there in May, can’t wait!!!

  • We are going to be there March 7-12 just for the F&G show. And just the wife and I (in our 60’s) by ourselves for once. We are always taking the kids/grandkids via our Disney Vacation Club points so this will just be our time alone to enjoy adult stuff at Epcot and the other parks. We have snow up here in the North part of Illinois, so we are looking forward to warmer weather and flowers. Warmer to us would be in the 60’s-70’s and NOT in the 80’s-90’s so this time of year is great to be there.

  • This Amy is going to be there March 9th too! Can’t wait!

  • These topiaries are magnificent! I can’t wait to see the humongous Goofy!

  • Great Job Debbie! Can’t wait till it starts!

  • we will be there near the end 1-15 May and can’t wait Ia little bird told me that there will be a lot of Tinkerbells and I collect her as pins I cant wait as I am bringing my mum and dad in law this time and they are keen gardeners

  • Can’t wait! Should be there March 9!

  • Awesome Works! I Hope I get to make tis year!

  • Wow. You have no idea how wonderful this looks to those of us up here in the frozen north. Wish I was there!

  • Love that butterfly picture at the top. Beautiful!

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