The no-water underwater garden

It's not quite a no-water garden, but if you were trying to design an underwater garden, above water, would cactus be the first plant on the list?

This Finding Nemo-inspired garden stands just outside Disney World's EPCOT Center's The Seas pavilion. The "arrangement" of plants is a clever stab at recreating the various coral, sea grasses and other odd-looking plants you might see while snorkeling.

There are some beachy-looking plants that do look like their underwater cousins. There are some great colored-grasses swaying in the breeze/currents and cactus as stand-ins for coral–without the great breadth of colors coral comes in. But I suppose the limited palette of greens makes the characters stand out all the more.

I miss some great-looking fan-shaped plants & coral. This is outdoors, so there wasn't much they can do with lighting - I didn't see it at night, they probably have it lit wonderfully.

It's got the requisite stone & sand base, and just enough colored plastic sea grass spikes to keep the illusion going. There's also coral-looking stilt-walkers wandering around, and the ubiquitous Nemo soundtrack music–which gets annoyingly repetitive pretty quickly.

My favorite part though, was the hidden bubble machine spitting out a continuous stream of bubbles, which you can't see in the photo. They gave another dimension of cleverness to an already well-composed garden. And what backyard couldn't use a bubble machine?

For my past posts on Disney & its gardens, visit:


  1. What a unique idea! And perfect for those dry climes. :)

  2. Hi Jim, thanks for showing us this. I agree about the bubble machines, they add some magic to any garden setting. I have seen Hallowe'en machines that produce fog, mist and bubbles. I am waiting for the after that holiday sale to see if there are any left for cheap.


  3. What a cute garden. My kids would just love it.

  4. nancybond,
    Next year I want to put in waterfall in the back yard. I already have grasses and some wavy black cane bamboo in the area. I may try this myself. Or, a more "interpretive" version.

    Oooooh! I'll have to do the same!

    I know I'm cute and clever, but I thought the Nemo garden was too.

    aunt debbi,
    My (nine-at-the-time) daughter loved it too. Anything it takes to get her interested in creative gardening is fine by me. Even cartoons.

  5. I've got to get out more - I'd never heard of a bubble machine for the garden! That garden is very clever - thanks for sharing.

  6. Leave it to Disney to appeal to the kid in all of us.

  7. Yup, I NEED bubble machine in my backyard for sure. I could put it by all the bowling balls and the balls would tie in together I think:) This garden is very neat and colorful. I think I'd for sure like some of those fish.

  8. LOL! :-) Okay, you and Neemo!

    I'm thinking you might achieve a coral reef look by surrounding the fish with gold, merlot and other colors of amaranthus.

  9. barbarapc,
    A bubble machine probably won't make the list of sustainable garden accruements. Unless of course they come up with a solar-powered bubble machine.

    Mother nature,
    Leave it to Disney. And leave your credit card too.

    Sounds like your garden has a lot of balls.

    Good idea. I'm mental noting that. When I do it, I'll be sure to post about it.

  10. There's an undersea garden installation in San Diego, I forgot the name of the museum as well as the name of the designer.

    My version of an aquarium garden is to use plants with seafaring names, like Shell Ginger and Shrimp Plant. My favorite accoutrement is a ceramic toothbrush holder shaped like a snail that I planted with alyssum.


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