It’s Spring Somewhere!

IMG_1449Snow was forecast in Rhode Island for the First Day of Spring two weeks ago, so Charley and I decided to go in search of sun and  flowers. Needless to say, Roxie was not pleased.

We flew to Walt Disney World in Florida to spend some time at the International Flower and Garden Festival at EPCOT. Charley loves Disney World. It brings out the kid in him (as if he needed any motivation).  And I love flowers and gardens.

 

We took photos of all the topiaries. I got some great ideas for my box woods that have survived the last few winters in New England. It’s been said that I’m a lethal pruner so, now I just need to get some control and develop the creative ability to subtly sculpt (and know when to stop).

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All around the park were small theme gardens: Butterfly & Purple Martin Habitats; spicy, hot Moroccan Seasonings; Tuscan Herbs; Prehistoric Plants; English Tea Gardens; Plants for Health & Healing ; Bonsai; Orchids, Alpine Containers and  many more.There was so much to learn and we went from site to site soaking up all of the information presented.

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Disney offers some special Behind the Scenes Tours and we’ve been on a few. Charley’s favorite is the Christmas one. These tend to take a few hours and reservations need to be made in advance. Charley arranged for us to take an hour tour at The Land to explore the varieties of hydroponic  methods used in their greenhouses. Hydroponic means growing plants using water instead of soil. Nutrients are added into the water to create growing solutions. Some of those nutrients come from tilapia waste products. They raise the tilapia (a local fish) in tanks in one of their greenhouses. The 60 different types of plants grown in the greenhouses provide food for their restaurants, and landscape plants for their gardens, promoting the idea of sustainability.

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It’s Sunday and we’re back in Rhode Island. The cats are still sulking and trying to make us feel guilty about abandoning them. Yesterday, I put out the hummingbird feeders (with extra sugar) for the early birds. It snowed again last night. In April, the snow melts quickly, so, at least we won’t be shoveling. Still, maybe we should have extended our vacation for another week?

You can Download the My Disney Experience Ap or visit MyDisneyExperience.com for more information. The EPCOT International Flower and Garden Show runs until May 30, 2016. on weekends there is a concert series and you can also attend garden presentations and meet with horticultural and outdoor specialists.

 

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85 thoughts on “It’s Spring Somewhere!

  1. Clare, what a wonderful tour you took us on, beautiful and imaginative. Thank you for all the great information. Gary and I returned from Florida yesterday, and our Roxy was not happy about being left behind – she told us all about it! Happy Sunday! 🙂

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      1. Going to Grapefruit Baseball League games, visiting a friend, seeing a play at American Theatre, going to a bird sanctuary in Tampa, eating al fresco in St. Pete and attempting to continue editing my mystery! Never been to Vero Beach. Glad you had fun and caught some rays.

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    1. It opens at the beginning of March and goes through to the end of May. The weekends are the times when they have workshops, concerts and speakers. Do you like baseball? We took in some grapefruit league games and I’ll write about that next time.

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    1. The colors were spectacular. I had to take my photos and share. We actually went to Florida to catch some early baseball. I’ll probably write about that next time. (For the second part of our trip we visited a friend in Tampa with no internet, so I was forced to stay away from social media, therefore, no blog, twitter or Facebook.) But I did spend some time editing the mystery. And still there is much more to do! Hope all is well with your newest publication projects!

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      1. Oooooo yuck! Yeah, we might not be heading to the beaches on the coast line but we found some local beaches we can get access to. Think we’ll be taking that route. Plus, we can bring the dog. Fingers crossed those beaches won’t be bad!

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    1. Maniparna, When I started this blog last year, I never intended to write about my travels. I thought they were too mundane. But as I read other bloggers, I found the places they lived and visited were fascinating to me. So, I’ve tried a few travel posts and I’m very glad to hear that you liked this one. Clare

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      1. I can understand. Even when I started blogging two years ago, I had no idea what to post. I was in a dilemma, whether my writing would be accepted by people or not. Then I started reading other blogs, and as I enjoyed their posts, I slowly understood the art of blogging… 🙂 It’s a process and I’m still learning… 🙂

        I really enjoyed your travel story, Clare, will wait for more… 🙂

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  2. Incredible photos as usual, Clare. I love the whole concept of the garden show and then seeing the images really brings it to life. What a lovely day! p.s. I’m with Charley, I’d like to see the Christmas show 🙂

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    1. We went behind the scenes to see how they decorated the trees and did the flower arrangements and went to the warehouse where all of the thousands of ornaments, and holiday paraphernalia are stored. Of course we also did Mickey’s Christmas Party. And at each country in EPCOT, there is a Santa or their version of Father Christmas and a play is staged about the traditions of that country. And the concert in the evening is phenomenal. It is fun and we turn into big kids!

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  3. What fun! I love the very first pic of all the spring flowers. You really will have to invent a way for the cats to go with you next time. We have fantasised about dressing the dog up and putting him in a stroller like I used to when I was a kid – now there’s an idea! I wonder if Roxie would suffer the humiliation.

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    1. She refuses to wear a flea collar, so a coat is out of the question. But she does like to jump in the suitcase while we’re packing, so, there’s a thought????? We’re expecting another spring snowstorm tomorrow. I’ll have to keep looking at the Florida flowers on my blog and dreaming of sunlight!

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  4. Ethel!! I can’t believe you were so close to me and didn’t call me! I live about 35 min from Disney, as the crow flies, about 2 hrs on I-4!!
    My second grand was born an hour ago, I’m so twitterpated, I can’t sleep!!
    Love, Lucy

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    1. Oh, Lucy! First a Huge Congratulations! How exciting. No wonder you can’t sleep. I need info! Name? weight? boy? girl? everything!!!
      Second-I’m sorry, Lucy. I thought you lived farther south around Miami. Not sure what gave me this idea? It was a last minute get away from the snow coming and so Charley could golf, I could see flowers and we both could catch some baseball and visit an old friend. I will call you any time. Just email me your number at zuzusbarn@gmail.com. Next time I’m in Florida, I will make sure to stop by, too. Have a wonderful day, Gramma times 2! Love, Ethel

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    1. Roxie was so furious about our leaving her again, , she would definitely want to eat them and ZuZu only likes eating bugs. We didn’t get a chance to go to Animal Kingdom to see It’s a Bug’s Life – but she would have liked that, I’m sure. (The Disney gardeners work through the night to make sure everything is always perfect in the day time for visitors.) We didn’t get a chance to attend any workshops, but they are all free and are on the weekends.

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  5. So glad you could escape to Florida! Those late snows that would have me running out with sheets to save my daffodils is one reason I am glad to be in North Carolina now where spring is in full swing and my garden is coming back to life! I didn’t know about the gardening focus at Disney…perhaps a trip with a couple of grandkids and flowers could be combined! Please tell Roxie I loved the picture of her on the suitcase! When my daughter was little she desperately wanted a cat, but Doug is allergic to them. So my mother found a kit with a grey cat that looked exactly like Roxie in your picture. She slept with it forever! Lovely flower pictures…Thanks for a little more spring! Jo

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    1. You’re very welcome. The annual garden show runs from March to the end of May. i think the grandkids might really like the Halloween Spectacular or Christmas time at Disney. One of my favorite times is the Food and Wine Festival!
      Roxie usually climbs inside the suitcases when we bring them out. She knows exactly what that means as you can tell on her face in the picture. Yes, when I was little, I wanted a pet so badly. i sleep with tons of stuffed animals – no dolls. The first thing I did when I bought my own house was to get a dog and cat.

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  6. Great post and fantastic pics.
    We are still waiting for spring in Scotland. The flowers are in bloom despite the rain and cold bbut we’ve not had any really warm days – except for the one day before we came to the island of Arran for a few days break. We go home tomorrow so maybe…

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    1. Charley and I were just talking about a trip to Scotland. I’ve been a few times in the summer season. He loves to golf and we were trying to decide the best weather there for golfing. Wishing you sunshine when you get home. Everybody around here is none too happy with us. They are blaming us for bringing the snow and sleet we are now experiencing here in the North East.

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  7. Once upon a time I’d have said May was the best month to come but the weather has changed so much it’s impossible to predict. Last year, May was dreadful. It rained all month. Maybe September. Whenever you do decide to come to Scotland do let me know – would be great to meet up.

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    1. Oh, that would be wonderful! I’ve been spending some time on your website and I just watched the 2011 interview about your books and your time in Afghanistan. I was so sorry to hear about Hussain and I am truly looking forward to reading your books. It was nice to see you and hear your voice. I’ll keep catching up with your life, Mary. Have a lovely day. Clare

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  8. The flower and garden show sounds – and looks – amazing! Glad you had a good time.

    However it would appear that someone forgot to tell Massachusetts it’s now Spring!

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  9. What a delightful post! Love the photos and slideshow! Yes–your cats do appear to be “shunning” you—LOL. That is WHY I do not have any pets—I am on the go too much…I think people are lucky who have them, but I do not think I would even know how to take care of one! I have friends who have cats as pets–and cats seem very temperamental to me. Nice that you and Charley could enjoy some Spring warmth! If it is any consolation—it snowed here in Wisconsin two days ago…and it has been COLD for the last week…a WINTER cold! Best to you and Charley! Happy Spring!

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    1. Thank you. The forecast is supposed to improve over the next week, but it’s still much colder than Florida. I agree, it isn’t half as cold as Wisconsin- no consolation, though! I love having cats around the house.They’re cuddly and easy. I’d have a dog, but we still travel too much. Maybe later on in life?

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      1. You are doing so well. You’ve already written the separate stories, so you just have to put them in order and edit. And then the fun….adding in photos and recipes – your forte! Take your time! You’re young!

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  10. It’s Autumn here, but … yesterday it was 34 degrees Celsius- around 100 Fahrenheit. I doubt that winter (and rain) will ever happen. Oh for some snow, or even some cold. Fascinating post. I’m glad Disney is actively working towards sustainability. I really dislike the sculptures! sorry! Please don’t make anything similar in your garden. Let plants be beautiful in their own right.

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    1. Kate! I love, love, love hearing from you and I promise I will not try to do any topiaries in my yard. It would end in disaster, I’m sure. Well, the rain today has washed all of our latest snow away and the poor daffodils have emerged from the drifts. I’m not sure what will happen to the buds on my lilacs because we just had a cold snap and I’m worried some of them froze. I’ll be putting the hummingbird feeders back out. Had to take them in because the sugar water froze. So, how are you???? Wishing you cooler weather, my friend. Clare

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  11. What a great idea for escaping the bad weather. Your photos from Florida make me feel so jealous. Such beautiful flowers and shrubs.I can’t say I’ve ever wanted to go the Disneyland, but your photos of the cartoon characters among all the spring colour are a delight. I hope your weather in Rhode Island soon improves. We’re just having our usual mix of rain and sun, with plenty of wind! One day the temperature actually reached 20C, so it felt positively tropical.

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    1. Charley is a big kid and he really loves Disney World in Florida. There are many things for adults to do. Great Behind the Scenes Tours and restaurants and spas. EPCOT is a true educational treasure trove.
      We’ve been talking about going to England again. I would love to stay in the Cotswolds in a Manor House and write another mystery. I realize it’s very cliche, but it is something I’ve thought about for a long time. Charley just wants to find the best golf courses there. So, hopefully we’ll find a place that combines the two? I think we’ll avoid Midsommer, though

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      1. I had no idea that Disney World had so much to offer. Perhaps we’ll look into it more thoroughly. I hope you have a wonderful time in the Cotswolds, if you do decide to come over here again. Yes, a manor house there would be an ideal place to write another mystery. 🙂

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      2. MillieI loved the Cotswolds when I was there in search of (Sheepscomb)Laurie Lee’s settings. For some reason, perhaps because of the title of my book, I am followed on Twitter by Berkshire Cottages and they sound enchanting. It won’t be until next year, though. Clare

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  12. What a gorgeous post. I loved seeing the pictures of the flowers and topiary. Good luck with shaping them in your garden. It will all grow back if you prune too much. If I were doing it, I would go for a free form look rather than a specific form. Loved the Christmas trees/celebrations from different countries. I was in south Florida recently but did not make it up to Disney World. Went to the Keys instead. Lovely post with your lovely personality shining through!

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    1. Thanks, Lori, Charley and I have talked about going to the Keys on a future visit to Florida. I’m not sure what we’ll do when we get there, as I’m not a swimmer nor a snorkeler. I guess I’ll go in search of Hemingway’s cats? My friend Kate from Australia read the post and she agrees with you. She said I should leave things in their normal state, so I guess I won’t be doing topiaries any time soon. I pruned back the bushes last fall, so hopefully the buds that were not killed by the latest freeze will produce lots of flowers. I’m better organized this week and will be posting today or tomorrow.

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