Spring has finally arrived which means the weather is getting warmer, flowers are just starting to bloom and we are officially one step closer to seeing the park come to life on May 22. A lot of work goes into prepping the park for opening and for our Landscape team, that means making sure the park looks clean and presentable, including creating numerous flower and plant displays that will be seen throughout the park. In honor of it officially being springtime, we want to give you a sneak peek at what it takes to get the park ready from a horticulture point-of-view!
Did you know that Kings Dominion has not one, but seven greenhouses consisting of one large greenhouse and six smaller greenhouses? In this year alone, 41,000 flowers plus 800 to 1,000 plants will be grown in the greenhouses and will be displayed throughout the park.
The preparation for the summer flower displays begins mid-February where the landscaping team will receive plant plugs, which are seedlings that grow in small trays. Once the seedlings have sufficient roots, the plugs are sent to Kings Dominion to be grown in the greenhouses.
“We receive plugs weekly from mid-February through late March. This year we ordered approximately 41,000 plugs. In addition, there are 800 to 1,000 plants that are overwintered in the greenhouses. While in the greenhouses, the flowers are watered, fertilized, pruned and cleaned until they are planted in the park,” said Judy Carson, Horticultural Technician at Kings Dominion.
While the flowers and plants are still growing inside the greenhouse, the landscape team will start tilling, fertilizing and apply pre-emergent to the flower beds to prepare for planting in March and will start to plant at the end of April.
Some of the largest flower displays that can be seen throughout the park include the logo hill just inside the front gate on International Street and the Floral Clock in Candy Apple Grove. The display alone on International Street uses around 2,000 plants while the Floral Clock has around 7,000 flowers displayed.
The team will also create baskets and “plant towers” which are planted as the plugs arrive and are grown in the greenhouse. Once they are fully grown, they will go inside the park.
“I do the bed baskets and container designs,” said Carson. “I work on this all year making notes of which flowers work well together, which plants thrived in certain beds and containers. I also make notes of which plants didn’t work well in certain places.
“In January, February and March, I collect all my notes and write down the designs for each bed and most of the baskets. Certain containers I design ahead of time, many I design as we go. I coordinate colors with buildings and rides in the area.”
Once the plants and flowers are planted in the park, the work continues to care and maintain the displays. On a typical day when the park is open, someone from the landscape team will go around the park to keep an eye on every container, basket and bed. This process includes cleaning containers, trimming baskets, watering flowerpots, weeding flower beds and making sure the greenhouses are checked and watered.
We are so excited to see all of the flower displays throughout the park this season. Be sure to keep an eye out for all of the beautiful flower arrangements the next time you are at the park!