Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Lush Life

Two birthdays to celebrate on this June morning, beginning with Disney legend Morgan "Bill" Evans, who was born 104 years ago today in 1910. He was the genius behind the landscape design at Disneyland. Walt Disney hired Evans (who had a nursery business, Evans and Reeves Landscaping, in West Los Angeles at the time) to landscape his Holmsby Hills home. Impressed, Walt decided to use Bill and his brother Jack to do the landscaping at Disneyland. To help save on costs, they collected a number of mature trees before the bulldozers paving the 5 Freeway got them, and then had them relocated to Disneyland.

Two of the things that Evans is best known for at Disneyland are the creation of the berm, which helps keep "the real world" out of the park by blocking sight lines with densely planted trees and shrubs. His other touch of genius was planting orange trees upside down on the Jungle Cruise, allowing the roots to serve as exotic jungle branches. Evans described the attraction as being the "best darn jungle this side of Costa Rica!"

In 1956, Evans was named Director of Landscape Architecture, working as a landscape planner, consultant, and maintenance supervisor, creating the master plan for Walt Disney World, including one of my favorite Disney World hotels, The Polynesian Resort, seen above and below:

His window at Disneyland is located above the Opera House in Town Square and reads:

Evans Gardens - Exotic & Rare Species - Freeway Collections - Est. 1910 - Morgan (Bill) Evans - Senior Partner

Evans passed away in 2002 at the age of 92.

Today would have been the 92nd birthday of actress and singer Judy Garland, seen here in a deleted scene from "A Star Is Born." Hard to believe she created so much in so little time, passing away at the age of 47 in 1969.

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