Can you name the happiest place on earth? I happen to think that Disney World might be in contention. While visiting Mom in FL last week with my son and his almost 3 year old daughter, Hailey, we had occasion to visit The Magic Kingdom. One might question the sensibility of taking a not even 3 year old to Disney World. My son and I questioned our sanity but little Hailey loves Mickey Mouse. She sings the song...not M-I-C-K-E-Y, sadly, but the new one and she dances to it and she asks for the TV show as it is her very favorite. Hailey's love of Mickey coupled with free passes and free parking sealed the deal.The smiles begin right inside the gates. Not all of us would want a planting of annuals bedded out in the likeness of Mickey Mouse but it looks quite appropriate right here. Who wouldn't smile at that face? I witnessed only acts of kindness by all employees I observed and encountered which seems an impossible task given the quantity of people who visit and who were there that day with the exception of this guy. I knew that I would be checking out plants and plantings but that did not take away from the day since pictures can be snapped quickly under the guise of looking at the sights. Gardening is regional and a trip is always an occasion to learn some new plant names. While February in RI means cold, hard ground and little color, in Florida there are some trees which are in full and glorious bloom. This tree, I cannot find the name so help me out, was blooming. It looks similar to the orchid tree but I think it is something other than that as it is blooming with no leaves present. My Mom has a book on some of the trees growing in Florida but this one was absent. This matched the pictures in the book of the orchid tree which has blooms and leaves at the same time. The Disney World crew beds out quite a few annuals and I did enjoy seeing color at this time of year. I know it is expected in Florida but it was a nice relief from the drabness of this year's RI winter with limited snow. No snow on the ground means less light in the landscape in New England. It has seemed ever so dark this year. These cyclamen swirls in the midst of wax begonias were quite pretty. I'll bet it would look nice on a wall as a vertical planting as well. I could use a few of these Trees of Gold to brighten the garden but, alas, they are not hardy for me. I will enjoy them here. The flowers are bourne in clusters before the tree leafs out. They are the bright yellow of that famous mouse's shoes.
Clinging to an arbor, this lovely lavender blue vine caught my eye. It looks like the pictures of the Queen's Wreath but if you know if by another name, let me know. Some people embrace the thought of going to Disney World and some people cringe at it. I am talking about adult people, of course, because I have never met a child whose eyes did not light up at the mention of this wonderland. Disney World does not come cheap even when you have free tickets. My son and I are still laughing about the 'free' part of it since we did purchase a few items which added up quite quickly. There is no price to be put on the smile and awe on a little girl's face at the sights and wonders within the walls of the Magic Kingdom. If little Hailey is too young to remember this trip, I only have to pull out these pictures to prove she was there. Have you been to Disney World? What do you think is the happiest place on earth?
Addendum: Many thanks to Francis for identifying the lovely pink flowered, deciduous tree in the above pictures. It is the Pink trumpet tree or Pink Lapacho tree, Tabebuia impetiginosa. More can be read about that tree here.