Flower and Garden Festival
Bob Richmond's Report

My overall impression of this year's festival is that there were some severe budget restraints that weren't around in years past. A lot of things didn't show up this year and some things just showed up in limited form.

I did like the "Topiary Salute To 100 Years of Magic" display that was in the main entrance plaza. There weren't a whole lot of topiary characters, but the topiary display was very well done.

I imagine some guests / lecturers / vendors preferred the air conditioned Innoventions West (south end) for the Festival Center and stores, but I found it cramped and lacking a lot of charm. One of my disappointmens was that the setting for the lectures was a simple raised stage with a curtain backdrop and lacked the front porch facade and the imaginative house number of 100182 (many guests probably did not catch the significance of it) of past years. Besides that the topics for the "Tips From The Pros" were all given on one day of the week. I would have loved to hear tips on "Water Gardening", but with that always being done on a Friday there was no way I could.

I liked the look of the "Water Garden Wonders" exhibit in West Future World, but was not to happy that it was only open for walkthroughs on Friday-Sunday.

I did like the more whimsical look of the Sculpture Garden in West Future World this year, but wish they had retained the ground chimes instead of putting them in the Kids' Garden where adults have a hard time getting near them.

I did like The Power of Flowers floral arrangement (new) on the shores of West Lake.

I did really like the topiary body of the peacock in Canada. However I think it would have been so much better if they put its floral tail on a wall instead of on the ground.

The United Kingdom was virtually unchanged from last year's festival. The International Gateway Park citrus topiaries and displays were totally absent. The France display was VERY low key with no topiaries.

I thought the Gardening for Food Around the World (transplanted from West Future World to between France and Morocco) was very well done this year. It looked very nice and had nice, hands on exhibits from Asia, Africa, and Latin America. One thing that I hope they do away with after the festival is the cement walkways on an area which was a very nice lawn.

The Morocco display was also VERY low key.

The bonsai in Japan was as impressive as ever. However the Musical
Garden (clickity clack garden) and floral wall were not present. The flags in America shrunk about 33%, but there was a nice Mickey and Minnie topiary in the middle of the fountain.

I didn't get to see many of the Flower Power shows in the American Gardens Theatre, but the Classic Rock All-Stars still put on the best shows and blew Orleans and Eddie Money away. Probably the highlights were Tobacco Road as the last song during the third show from Peter Riviera (Rare Earth) and School's Out For Summer (Alice Cooper) followed by In a Gadda da Vida (Iron Butterfly) by Mike Pinera during the second show. I will be seeing The Nelsons today and hope for another good show from them this year.

The Italy display was VERY low key and the "surprises" were absent. Germany was virtually unchanged from last year's festival.

The Kids' Garden near Germany lost all of its educational value (no bug exhibits this year), but did get lots of topiaries that used to be in other parts of the parks.

The Outpost had no topiaries this year.

I really love the Panda topiaries in China, but miss the rock gardens (they were also gone last year). The troll topiary in Norway is very nice, but still reminds me of Rizzo Rat with a bigger nose. The new tropical bird topiaries (Sulfur Crested Cockatiels ?) in Mexico are extremely nice.

The displays in East Future World are VERY low key. The "Big Bugs" were gone.