a little side trip ... from Chicago to Orlando...

Ok, blog-wise, I am still in Chicago, with more to post about our wonderful Spring Fling.

But my (tired) body is in lush Orlando, where today we took in all there is to see at Epcot at Disney World. Here's our little princess above, posing in front of Japan with all its beautiful gardens and the koi pond. This is her first trip -- though we were here with her brother 13 years ago (it surely can't have been that long ago). Click on the photo of her and see the amazing face painting mask that she's sporting -- it's not a dirty face!

There were at least 3 different varieties of Water lilies in the pond; this was my favorite one.

As with everything, Disney does it right. I am amazed at the vegetation everywhere. Every little detail -- from simple planters by a doorway -- has been planned and designed.
I have no idea what kind of palm this is, but I thought it was fascinating -- it seems like the foiliage is thick, more like a succulent. Any ideas what it might be? It's not a Texas native, that's for sure.
As we toured The Land, I was left with my mouth hanging open. They are working with the USDA to develop new growing methods. They had hanging plants and "trees" that encourage the stems and leaves to grow in a huge canopy above the stem -- which conserves plant energy and allows air to circulate better among the leaves and helps growth and production.
These herbs are growing like epiphytes -- they are doused with a mist of nutrients and moisture directly onto the roots -- no soil!
This is NOT an orange tree -- those are bell peppers up there!
And this is a cherry tomato TREE - that goes down to a single stalk (I just took a lousy photo -- sorry - imagine the pepper tree!).
And see -- they even grow their lettuce in the shape of Mickey Mouse ears!
It was pretty cool to see all this experimental plant research. Kallie thought it was "ok" but it wasn't her favorite event of the long day.

Her favorite was a ride called, "Soarin'," a simulation of a hang glider flying over California in an IMAX-like theater setting. Her Daddy took her -- I'm a chicken and that was way out of my comfort zone! Can you imagine? She had a BALL. No fear, that one. It's great that she and her Daddy can be so adventurous together. Me? I prefer the lazy river ride through the greenhouse any day!