Dollywood’s landscaping team just finished planting all of our summer flowers. Summer planting is the largest planting season of the year for us. A team of 12 landscapers begins at Dollywood’s Splash Country the first Tuesday in May and once they’re done there, they move to Dollywood. It takes them about a month to get all the flowers in the ground.
We often hear our guests commenting on how beautiful our parks are. We are blessed by our location in the foothills of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but we also have some great men and women who work hard to provide a picturesque background to enjoy when visiting Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country. I caught up with Sabrina Canter, our Senior Team Lead of Landscaping, one morning as she was checking on the Showstreet flowerbeds. I learned so many interesting tidbits, that I decided to share some them with you.
Number of Flowers
Dollywood purchased more than 5,000 plants for the 2018 season, and Dollywood’s Splash Country purchased more than 2300. The Landscaping team also uses hundreds of flowers grown in the two greenhouses and nursery kept on property. All the hanging baskets you see are Dollywood’s own creations. The landscaping team starts working on them in January!
Dollywood’s Landscaping team has 12 hosts on staff. They work eight hours a day—mostly before guests arrive. They get to work around 4 a.m. and start hand-watering everything. They get a lot of dirty work done before guests arrive! Once the park opens, you may see them weeding or “deadheading,” but most of the messy projects are done for the day. They fertilize the plants every other week. They’ll start at the water park, and then they work their way through Dollywood. Once they hit all the beds, it’s been a week and it’s time to start over!
Planning the Flowers
Sabrina says she orders flowers about a year in advance and she is already putting in her requests for summer 2019. She says she keeps a close eye on what does well and will use it again. But, landscapers get bored, too! Sabrina says she loves to experiment and try new things. Often, hosts who work in certain areas will request a specific type of flower near their work space. She tries to honor those requests as often as she can.
According to Sabrina, we want showy flowers not past their peak bloom. Also high on the list of criteria: bright and colorful, requires low maintenance, and will last through the summer. Right now, she’s loving the Pentas and Cherry Sparkler Grass.
Most of the flowers you see at Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country will last through the beginning of September. After that, the team starts transitioning the landscaping to reflect our Harvest theme. Those flowers are only out until the end of October, because then the team is decorating for Smoky Mountain Christmas!
When guests spot our hard-working landscaping team, there’s a common question they ask, “Can you come do that at my house?” Sabrina smiled and told me that she and her team have plenty of work to do at Dollywood!