As I explained in a previous post, Central Park At Sea, Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas is a huge ship with unusual-for-ships amenities, not the least of which is the amazing Central Park. While we were on board, Laszlo Turos, the Landscape Specialist who oversees the plantings, conducted two appealing and enlightening tours of the gardens. Although most plants are tropical by virtue of the weather Oasis sails in, we can still take away design ideas from the garden beds in our non-tropical yards.
As we enter the Central Park on Deck 8 of Oasis of the Seas, the sheer size of the space is grand. The gardens are open to the sky, soaring above and nestling below near our feet. Along the edges, restaurants with little outdoor seating areas invite us to grab a bite or linger for dinner. The curving walkways lead us to new sights hidden around each bend. You can use this method of landscaping at home, too. Instead of an open area that shows everything, plant to conceal. Then bend paths among your flowers, trees, and shrubs.
In one section of the walk, an extended metal arbor supports several different colors of Bougainvillea. If Bougainvillea is too tender to survive in your climate, you could replace it with a native wisteria. Wisteria frutescens ‘Amethyst Falls’ is an attractive option for USDA Zones 5-9. For slightly colder gardens, Zones 4-8, native honeysuckle is also a good choice. Make sure you choose the non-invasive native honeysuckle with either red or yellow flowers. Most have bright red trumpets but Lonicera sempervirens 'John Clayton' sports beautiful yellow trumpet flowers.
Rino Garcia, a horticulturist aboard the ship, is busy tidying up the plantings below the Living Wall. These plants really take a beating from Mother Nature. Wind and water sometimes bombast the edges of the planters and the plants dripping down. Asparagus or sprengeri ferns, Asparagus aethiopicus (syn. A. sprengeri) are the tough plants that survive in this inhospitable region. They can be grown as a houseplant or a tender annual outdoors in zones colder than 9. When the ship goes in for refurbishing, Laszlo says they will most likely paint the boxes green, in keeping with the green theme of the park, although he likes the blue. I confess I like it too, peeking out here and there on the wall. I don’t find it intrusive at all but then blue is the color of my pergolas in my own garden.
If you would like to see more pictures of plants growing onboard Oasis of the Seas in her Central Park, follow the link to GardenSmart’s Facebook page.
Posted February 28, 2014
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