The Tropical Greenhouse here at Epcot’s The Land Pavillion is a great learning garden!: Part IV: The Land

 

The Tropical Greenhouse © Britt Conley

The Tropical Greenhouse © Britt Conley

At Walt Disney World’s  The Land Pavilion in Orlando, Florida, the Tropical Greenhouse  is home to over “30 different edible crops from tropical areas around the world” states Disney horticulturalist Les Frey.  He should know, he’s been here for 18 years and currently supervises the intern program as well as manages the lab and greenhouses.  I spent about an hour with Frey the day before Christmas here at Epcot.  Today we’re looking at one aspect of that tour which focused on some of the cool plants and fruits you can find here.

A Coconut © Britt Conley
A Coconut © Britt Conley

Here at the Tropical Greenhouse coconuts and other food crops are used to show visitors more about our food sources.  Not only can you explore them up close here, you can also look up to see them in their raw, growing form.  Pretty fun for this city Bee.

Coconut Tree © Britt Conley
Coconut Tree © Britt Conley

Frey explains, “Some of these crops are normally seen as ornamental garden plants (such as the canna & cleome), but in other countries they are used for food.”

Britt learns from Horticulturalist Les Frey © Steve Conley

Britt learns from Disney horticulturalist Les Frey © Steve Conley

One of the crops I didn’t expect to see are these Flutted Pumpkins (below), which Frey points out are normally grown in West Africa.  Its seeds and leaves are edible and are a dietary staple for millions of people there.  The seeds, when roasted, taste just like almonds.  It grows even in the worst soil conditions.

Flutted Pumpkins © Britt Conley

Flutted Pumpkins © Britt Conley

We use papaya as fruit but in some parts of the word it’s used as a meat tenderizer.

Papaya © Britt Conley

Papaya © Britt Conley

The stuff that knocked my socks off were seeing my first pineapple while it’s growing and find out what coffee really looks like!  I have to say this city Bee – who has only had a handful of cups of coffee in her entire life – embarrassingly asked, ” So, how do the beans get to be brown?”  Les was kind enough to explain that in each of these bright red pods are two little beans waiting to be harvested.

Pineapple and Coffee © Britt Conley

Pineapple and Coffee © Britt Conley

Another fun aspect to the Tropical Greenhouse tours is being able to see various plants that we use all the time but rarely see beforehand.  As an avid tea drinker, I was enamored with this Tea Garden!

The Tea Garden © Britt Conley

The Tea Garden © Britt Conley

The Spice garden was just as much of a treat.  I may have learned a lot while on this amazing adventure visiting gardens across the U.S.,  but I am still a novice when it comes to gardening and plant identification.  That is one of the things that makes this adventure so much fun.  I have to say it’s been AMAZING!

The spice garden © Britt Conley

The spice garden © Britt Conley

Les Frey  was showing one way they illustrate the crop-to-table approach, “We showcase several plants in our spice garden and as part of our tour we pass around samples of various spices to let our guests smell them to figure out what each spice is.”

The spice table © Britt Conley

The spice table © Britt Conley

One of the first things you learn during The Land boat ride is that we consume about 80 million bananas a year.  Yet again, I have only seen bananas on their trees in photographs.  I was surprised at how lovely and colorful they are before they are ripened and cut down.

The Land ride through the Tropical Greenhouse © Britt Conley

The Land ride through the Tropical Greenhouse © Britt Conley

If you find yourself visiting Epcot, don’t miss The Land ride.  It’s in The Land Pavilion right next to Soarin’!  Be sure to stop by the information desk to see about the Behind the Seeds Tour.  I had a great time here and hope you enjoyed these posts!  A special thanks to Les Frey who is one of the nicest people I’ve met while on the first ever Photo Garden Bee Tour!  Thank you Les for your time and efforts answering ALL my questions.

The Land at Epcot © Britt Conley

The Land at Epcot © Britt Conley

Tomorrow were switching gears to some great art buzz over at Jacksonville’s The Cummer Museum and Gardens.  We’re taking a look at some of the earliest Botanical drawings done in America from the 1600′s by Jacques Le Moyne on view until the end of this weekend!

Til Tomorrow,

Britt : )

Related posts:

  1. Here at Epcot they are using various hydroponics systems to help change the world: Part III : The Land
  2. Disney’s Epcot Greenhouses are Amazing! Part I : The Land
  3. Growing for the future utilizes innovative techniques here at Epcot’s Greenhouses! Part II: The Land
  4. The Greenhouse
  5. Disney’s Epcot Greenhouses has one of the coolest plants this Bee has ever seen!

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3 Comments

 
  1. caglar
    2010-01-18
    11:35:59

    It is really helpful information about greenhouses. I live in a village and greenhouses are very important for us,
    there is also a very useful guide that i got great informatin about greenhouses:

    http://agricultureguide.org/

     
  2. liza
    2011-10-17
    18:29:42

    I love the TickleMe Plant I saw at the behind the seeds tour. Who know a plant could move and close its leaves when Tickled! Just search TickleMe Plant as now you can grow them indoors...year round

     
  3. Julia
    2012-03-09
    20:25:34

    Just wanted to add that coffee beans are actually green when they are harvested from their fruit! They have to be roasted before they turn brown :). Great story and great photography. The Land Pavilion is definitely my favorite part of any of the Disney World parks.

     
 

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