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Meet our blogger – Sheila

March 7, 2010

Hi everyone. My name is Sheila, and I get to share with you some of what we do here at Busch Gardens to bring you the landscaping you see when you visit.

I started working here as a part-time seasonal employee in 2002, taking hours around my “real” job. I have a small yard at home, and it was (and still is) pretty full, so I figured this would give me a chance to learn and work with more plants than I could ever experience on my own. There was a lot to learn, and I continued to work about 20 hours a week for the next two seasons.

In 2005, a full-time position as Horticulturist position opened at the park, and I got the job. Now there really WAS a lot to learn. I was moving from greenhouse beds over to shrubs, roses, topiary, and vines, as my primary tasks. I was also asked to assist with plant selection and nursery maintenance, helping watch for diseases and pests, and making sure plant material was being watered correctly. I earned my Horticulture certification last November, but I know there’s so much more to learn.

There are always new things to learn, new plants, new skills, and lots of activity to keep a crew busy. I am very glad to be part of the landscape department here at Busch Gardens. I’ll be writing about gardening tips and our beautiful park. Feel free to comment with any questions. I’m happy to help.

Landscaper at Busch Gardens

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Ben permalink
    March 7, 2010 10:14 am

    This is a little specific, I know, but do you know what the plans are for Curse of DarKastle’s “hedge maze”? Are the bushes supposed to grow much taller than they are now, or will they stay at about the same height in the future? I’ve heard rumors that eventually it’ll be as tall as a real hedge maze.

    • March 15, 2010 10:40 am

      Thank you for asking about theming in DarKastle. It would be great if we could let the hedges reach the size of the hedge maze in “The Shining,” but that’s not really an option for us. The area is too small to accommodate enough soil for the plants to reach nine feet tall and remain healthy. The osmanthus was chosen for its prickly nature and wouldn’t be very guest-friendly at much more than four feet tall.

  2. David permalink
    March 7, 2010 10:55 am

    Sheila, glad you’re blogging. You’re a TRUE artiste. And I’m so glad the park added the Garden Gate shop a few years back. I love Ben’s question, above, so please answer!
    – David

  3. kerry worlledge permalink
    March 15, 2010 10:08 am

    Around the park, especially near the front and toward Italy and Festa Italia, there is a very fragrant, pleasant aroma from some type of plant. Can you tell me which plant is responsible for this pleasant fragrance in the air? Sure, there are probably many floral fragrances at The Gardens, but this one is an obvious standout from any others!

    • April 7, 2010 9:24 am

      This is a bit of a tough question to answer, since I don’t know when you were here to enjoy this plant.
      Some plant populations are more concentrated in one area of the park or another, so we’ll start with that, since we have some direction there.

      Some plants that are in those areas (almost) exclusively with smaller amounts of fragrance are the yucca and Russian olive. Next highest in fragrance would be the osmanthus, which has tiny white flowers that bloom later in the season. For spring bloom and high fragrance, it might be ligustrum. I wasn’t familiar with this plant until I moved to this area, but it is prevalent here and smells strong enough to notice when riding down the street. A summer bloomer would be vitex, another strong fragrance, found in tree form here in the park with upright purple flowerheads.

  4. Trevor permalink
    March 28, 2010 10:27 am


    I’m curious about the creepy-looking evergreen trees near DarKastle. The ones with the drooping needles. What are they called, and what can you tell me about them? I’d love to get one for my own yard.


    • April 7, 2010 9:21 am

      These are Chamaecyparis nootkatensis, and are native to the Cascade range from Oregon to Alaska. They will grow to 100′ or more in the wild, but generally stay to around 35′ in cultivation, with a width of 15-30′. Native Americans used the wood for bows, masks, bowls, and dishes, and the roots for baskets and hats. They make great ornamentals for us here at the park with their unusual droopy habit.

  5. April 11, 2010 4:55 pm

    Growing plants can be really hard…

  6. Sophia Wells permalink
    June 29, 2010 2:30 pm

    Sheila, we were at BG this weekend and I am again amazed at how awesome of a job that you and your helpers do…..I LOVED every plant, every hanging basket, every everything!! I took a lot of pictures! I would love to meet you and just see what you have to do behind the scenes… really made my trip to BG memorable!!

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