An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

April 26, 2008

Busch Gardens -- The Plants Are Nice, But We Go For The Rides

Since I work every Saturday and Sunday during the spring, my son and I do not get to spend any days together for a couple of months, so I had no problem pulling him from school for a day of bonding. Our activity of choice is to spend the day at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, and thanks to my parents we each have a season pass. We thought that going on a pre-season Friday would let us have the park to ourselves, but it was full of high school and middle school field trippers (as if I didn't feel old enough already). Busch Gardens has won "The Most Beautiful" park award by the members National Amusement Park Historical Association for 18 consecutive years. It is easy to see why, from its setting in the woods, to its lush landscaping. This year they offered two weekends of programs geared toward the gardening public under the title of "Ready, Set, Grow". There were tours of some of the garden areas, the greenhouses, demonstrations and classes. I noticed too that there was a new emphasis on plant labeling that also included the Latin names.
They use a wide variety of plant material throughout the park. I particularly like the fact that they plant the perimeters of the public areas with unusual trees and shrubs. They also plant the more public beds with items most people would not consider because of the plant's ultimate size, but I know they have the resources to move things around when they out grow the space. The staff is particularly adept at containers, and they are used widely throughout the park. Their annual beds are extensively planted in a Victorian or traditional European style, and while the colors and the tidiness are not to my liking, I can appreciate the effort. I wonder if little gartenelfin come out at night to get it all looking good for the next day.

I am going to send this to my Monrovia sales rep. it's good product placement.
There were several other species in the park Friday besides those that fall into the flora category.

Here are a couple of cuckoos.
Finally, here are some shots of why we really go to the park. It is a great place to experience a variety of G forces (or lack thereof), speed, and simulated near death experiences.


  1. Oh man do those rides look AWFUL. Of course, I can't even do a ferris wheel or an 8' ladder. But, just seeing the name sweetspire reminds me how much I want one! Thank you for scratching my itch, or, making the itch worse.

  2. Ben,

    Itea is a great plant, it suckers so give it room or keep you spade close.

  3. I was looking for a good place to take my family on vacation this summer. I'm tired of going to Myrtle Beach. I don't like the rides but I'd sure like the gardens. They could all do the rides and I'd stay in Williamsburg. It sounds and looks like fun.

  4. Anna,

    You would probably enjoy visiting Colonial Williamsburg and it's gardens. Busch Gardens has great plantings and it is one of my favorite places, but if you don't like the rides or the shows, it is an expensive waste of money.