We like to envision the landscapes at Walt Disney World Resort as huge outdoor stages or sets with the trees, shrubs, and flowers playing the roles of props as well as stars. With the scope of horticulture as vast as the property itself, we have some 4,200 acres of maintained gardens and landscapes and over 100,000 ornamental trees, 4 million shrubs, and 2,000 acres of turf.
Included in our landscapes are some pretty unique, often unknown niche gardens with exceptional plants and stories. One such place is in the Magic Kingdom Park where you‘ll see roses, and lots of them! Located to the right of Cinderella Castle if you are headed down Main Street, U.S.A., the award-winning roses popping with color await you along a curving walkway with two entry/exit ways.
Looking back, the rose garden has quite a history. Established in 1980, it has been a Disney’s Horticulture tradition to plant and maintain these roses for over 30 years. When established in 1980 the gardens’ intention was to be an All-American Rose Selections (AARS) winner’s tribute to rose breeders and judges.
It became so successful, in 1985 the Walt Disney World Resort was honored with an award by the AARS committee for commendation of the rose exhibit. A few of the first roses planted in the garden were 1980 winners Love, Honor and Cherish and 1981 winners White Lightning, Bing Crosby and Mariana.
Today, you will see St. Patrick, All That Jazz, Betty Boop and Candelabra, just to name a few of the many roses on display. When visiting the garden you are invited in by the original plaque presented to Walt Disney World Resort by the AARS in 1985.
To maintain the roses our talented gardeners hand prune the roses twice a year, 8 weeks before Thanksgiving and on February 15. It is important for the roses to look great for Valentine’s Day.
Also on display throughout the circular planters in front of the castle are sweeping beds of shrub roses in different shades of pink. In addition, old fashioned Louie Philip roses add color to a broken planter in front of the Haunted Mansion. The unmaintained look adds to the story line of the attraction and provides some extra training for our new gardeners who need to hone the art of making plants look neglected and overgrown.
When visiting our parks and resorts remember to plainly stop and smell the roses!