Saturday in the Park with Scar – Part 1

| March 30, 2008

Oh, what a day I had yesterday.

Let me begin my long journey into madness – and let me tell you how I managed to meet a listener who drove 15 hours from Ohio to Orlando in hopes that he might win a cruise. But before we get to that – my day started innocently enough agreeing to go with Walter (a.k.a. Scar) to the Central Florida Plant Show – an annual event that takes place at the stunning Harry P. Leu Gardens just outside of Downtown Orlando. When I say stunning – if you’re a plant & flower person – there are few places more beautiful than Leu Gardens. I however – am not a plant & flower person – I’m a plant & flower KILLER. A plant in my possession, or even within my immediate sphere of influence is fated a miserable death sentence. The heartiest, strongest of plants have been vaporized by my seemingly freakish ability kill anything green. It’s not that I don’t love to look at plants and flowers – I just kill them.

Now Walter IS a plant person. I call him “Nature Boy”. He has an AMAZING collection of orchids, some of which he has been raising since he was in 8th grade. Orchids are not for the faint of heart – they take a lot of work, and his collection of nearly 100 Orchids is a testament to his ‘plant-ness’. So, when Walter asked if we could go to the plant show, I figured – what the heck – he puts up with a lot of crap having to deal with my Disney obsession, so a leisurely stroll thru Leu Gardens on a Saturday morning to buy plants isn’t too much to ask. What I failed to realize is that people who are into plants make people who are into Disney look self actualized. I thought we had weird rituals – but this was something all together different.

My first indication that I was on a descent into the Twilight Zone came when we realized the parking lot for Leu Gardens was full and that we had to find alternate parking – which, I should tell you, was non-existent. People were parking on the street, on the grass, in other people’s gardens. Range Rovers, Hummers, Expeditions abound – people brought their dogs, their kids, their mothers – and apparently, their big floppy garden hats. Yes, there were lots of big floppy garden hats – but I’m getting ahead of myself. We were looking for alternate parking …

Well, Scars idea of alternate parking was a half mile away from the entrance to Leu Gardens. I’m not exaggerating – we had to walk a HALF A FREAKIN MILE to go walk around and buy plants. Keep in mind that I was working off about 4 hours of sleep, and my back has been hurting pretty bad lately – but he was undeterred – we were going to this plant show if it was the last thing we ever did. Of course as we’re getting to the entrance, Walter announces “that was a long walk – I don’t know if it’s worth all that” – to which I replied “You couldn’t have decided that back at the car???” – Fine – we’re here, let’s just walk around and try and make the best of it. That’s when I first saw the hat people…..




They were everywhere – like swarms of locusts – men and women alike wearing big floppy gardening hats, and carrying wagons. Wagons were also a big part of this outing. Everyone (except us) had wagons – wagons of all kinds.




We even spotted the queen of the hat people, although it’s entirely possible she was getting ready for a drag show.


Now, if the whole wagons and hat thing wasn’t bizarre enough, there were the bizarre conversations you couldn’t help overhearing. Did you know that “this tree is deciduous, you don’t find many deciduous trees in Florida” and “isn’t this the most interesting elephant ear you’ve ever seen” and “some cymbidiums need cold in order to bloom” and “were those day-lilies forced?” And then complete the picture- I’m not kidding – a guy walks past me, tips his hat, smiles and says “how dee doo”. HOW DEE DOO???? Who talks like that??? I’m tired, I’m cranky and now I’ve got guys with big floppy garden hats saying “how dee doo”….no, this was not okay on any level. But, like I said – Walter puts up with A LOT worse being with me, so I kept my comments to msyelf, knowing full well I was going to put this all in the blog. And before you accuse me of exaggerating the weirdness factor of this event, behold…..


I overheard a woman say “Mom, look – ferns with feet” as though she had just discovered Atlantis. Ferns with feet?? As John would say – so many jokes, so little time.

There were also lots of societies in attendance. The Central Florida Historical Rose Society is just the kind of place I would imagine women with floppy garden hats and wagons would hang out. I wasn’t going to ask the obvious question “what’s a historical rose”, for fear I’d be exposed as the Anti-Plant and beaten about the head and neck with historical rose bushes. Of course, no plant show is complete without the Flowering Tree Society – I wasn’t aware that tree enthusiasts were so pervasive that they had split off into sub-groups like flowering and non-flowering.


Favorite moment of the plant show: When one of the women with a big floppy hat and a wagon asked the hot dog vendor if she could write him a check and then got indignant when he said NO. You remembered to bring your floppy hat, you remembered to bring your wagon, you even remembered to bring your check book but CASH is what slipped your mind???

Eventually, Walter had scoured each vendor for plants and it was time to begin the epic journey back to the car. I was even less amused about the walk back to the car after dragging myself thru plant world, but I kept a brave face as not to rain on Walter’s parade. Little did I know that I’d be dragging him into hell later that night at Universal on what had to be the busiests night I’ve ever seen at that park…more about that in Part II.

Category: Disney World

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  • robertgp124

    Sounds like you have the same problem with big floppy hats that Regina has with clowns. And please – what the hell are ferns with paws, claws, and feet. Could you have Walter please tell us? Is it a pet eating fern?

  • DebbieT11

    LOL… Pete, the things we do for love, huh???

  • dizneedoll

    Before I read the article I was thinking that was your house at the top Pete. I was thinking “Man, Pete is set up!!”

    You reminded me of that kid from the movie the Sixth Sense: I see floppy hats…

    So I take that besides not listening to the podcast, Walter doesn’t read the blog either!

  • mommyceratops

    Wow Pete!! I can’t wait for more!! I am the same way I look at plant and it dies.

    I was thinking you went to a Kentucky Derby party with all the hats!

  • cocowum

    Hey Pete, I just wanted to stop in and say… HOW DEE DOO???? :) LOL!!!!!

  • cocowum

    Can’t wait to read part II. :)

  • UrsulasShadow

    Okay, I’ve been outed. I AM one of the floppy hat/wagon people. I KNOW what a fern with feet is (rabbit’s foot fern…looks like a tarantula with a bad hair day). I spent 3 days this winter at a New England Grows expo in Boston…commuting an hour by train each way in order to just HANG with other people like me (you won’t find actual plants in Boston in February). I GROW historical roses. My obsession for gardening actually exceeds my Disney obsession…so much so that I made it my living. If you weren’t frightened by me before…this ought to do it, eh, Pete?

  • DebbieT11

    Shoot, if *he’s* not scared, *I* am!!

  • annette_va

    Uh-oh, Will…Ursula’s into plants. If she offers you any herbs or a bouquet of flowers, RUN! ;)

    Pete, you are a dedicated man! Can’t wait to hear part 2!!

  • klam_chowder

    Great blog & post Peat – keep up the good work!

  • choirboy501

    Ferns with paws, claws and feet?

    Ferns (fiddleheads) are best with garlic and butter.

  • happy2go2wdwmom

    At least now we know the cistern will have curbside appeal!

  • WebmasterRegina

    Why am I not surprised thst Ursula knows what a fern with feet is? As for me, I hear “Fern” and I think of Otter’s fiance who died in the kiln explosion in Animal House.

    From a fellow plant killer, I salute you for spending a day looking at potential victims.

  • elemusing

    Ned Flanders – that’s who.

    From The Simpsons – Ned Flanders says “How dee doo Neighbor.” Actually, he says
    “How Diddly Doo.”

    I am not a plant person either. You must love Walter.

  • happy2go2wdwmom

    Am trying to hold back my snickers for the purple hat lady as I adjust my Mickey Mouse ears hat…different likes for different Ikes, I suppose. Re: plant killer–five neighbors went into shock when I was spied in my front yard weeding—and kid you not,it was an event to them–they pointed and laughed at me w/ my stiff, new, unsullied garden gloves—if I really weeded correctly, I’d have no green in my lawn—I have plastic plants inside.

    God only knows what would happen if Scar’s orchids got root rot?!

  • calypso

    Careful Mindy — We might have to change your username to Poison Ivy!!!

    Poor Pete…you have now been afflicted by the “How De Doo” curse. I’m having a premonition that you will be hearing that term a lot. (Ha Ha)

  • LilGMom

    I am too a plant killer. My poor little flowerbed in front of the house has one little sago palm that the developer put in and even that looks like it is dieing. I second the whole “the things we do for love” comment.

  • maiziezoe

    Kudos to you Pete!!

    My hubby is a plant guy… in the summer he tries to walk me around the yard to show me all the “beautiful flowers”. I whine and drag my feet and hate every second of it… and that is just walking around the yard. He would never get me to a plant show.

    When I was in college I told my mom I couldn’t wait to have kids. She said I should wait 5 years and buy a plant and if I kept the plant alive for a year, kids might be next.

    I couldn’t keep that damn plant alive for a week. Heck, I even ruined a plastic tree once by putting it too close to an outdoor fire pit.

  • hayanyujah847

    lol I love the floppy hat pix~! But I, like many others here, am a plant killer. I simply cannot have them in my home. :P

  • kimstar

    I laughed out loud, real loud, at the how dee do!

  • Cyrano

    Great report. Glad to know that Disney geeks are not alone :)

  • aprinceandprincess

    That was really nice of you to attend the show with Walter. I always enjoy it when DH will tag along for something I want to do.

  • tinkbutt

    Pete I’ve had a “HOW DEE DO” moment except here on the Maryland Eastern Shore it was” HOLDER NEWT” what the heck is holder newt???

    at least now you have some credit toward Disney outings!!

  • Boardwalker

    If you substitute Mouse Ears for Floppy Hats, Strollers for Wagons, Mickey for Ferns with Feet….
    you will see that It’s a Small Ecosystem After All.
    But I like our obsession better, because we don’t have to water it.