Joe Parr, director of horticulture at Busch Gardens, Tampa, spotted the art nouveau candlestick while shopping antique stores — a pasttime he loves.
“I was hoping that she would be beautiful, so she embraces a watery looking glass,” Joe says of The Spirit of Spring, one of many new topiaries created for Busch Gardens’ new Food & Wine Festival, running weekends now through April 26.
Joe started planning the topiaries for this event nearly two years ago, taking his cue from “things that amused and inspired me along the way.” One of my favorites is Topiarazzi, which I can only guess came from watching park visitors.
Meet Winston, Jack, Otto, Cecil and Joe, who’ve been brought alive with 2,500 plants, including red, yellow, green and white Alternanthura and green creeping fig.
Florida sealife also captured Joe’s imagination. Here’s a Florida octopus in progress.
And the finished product!
“There are a handful of plant workhorses for topiary in Florida: Alternenthera, creeping fig, wax begonias are some of the major species. Succulents are great for added texture and color,” Joe says. “The bigger the topiary the more varieties you can use.”
Wanna try this one at home?