At Walt Disney World Resort in Florida there is much that is bigger and better than almost anywhere else, including the landscape "show" of more than seven million trees, shrubs, and flowers that form part of the popular travel destination's entertainment.

Some 4,000 acres (1,600 hectares) are landscaped for the 47-square-mile (122-square-kilometer) resort's theme parks, hotel properties, golf courses, and campground, forming perhaps one of the largest public gardens to be found anywhere.

Disney's 750 horticultural professionals plant three million bedding plants annually and tend 175,000 trees and more than four million shrubs. There are 13,000 rose bushes alone. Some 200 plants have been sculpted by topiary experts into different designs and there are at least 800 hanging baskets.

Then there are the 2,000 acres (800 hectares) of turf which keep an army of gardeners marching behind their mowers year-round.

Plants found on Disney's property come from 50 countries—from every continent except Antarctica—and many parts of the United States.

Small wonder that all this requires 65,000 sprinkler heads on 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) of water pipes—and that the resort has a large, sophisticated nursery staffed by 30 professionals.

To find out what's involved in planning and caring for such a huge landscape, National Geographic News interviews Dennis Higbie, director, Walt Disney World Horticulture.

[…]