Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Capitol Grounds Get Spruced Up for Derby Celebration
Beautifully landscaped grounds will welcome 2007 Derby Breakfast guests
FRANKFORT, Ky. – The first Saturday in May attracts horseracing fans from across the globe to Kentucky for the “Run for the Roses.” But garden enthusiasts who visit Kentucky’s Capitol for the 2007 Governor’s Derby Breakfast may wish to direct their attention to the 15,500 begonias, petunias and various other annuals that grace the grounds of the Capitol, the Executive Mansion and the Floral Clock on Kentucky’s most famous day.
“Kentucky is blessed to have such a majestic Capitol building framed by a beautifully designed landscape,” said Governor Fletcher. “Many of our guests may be visiting the Capitol for the first time, and we want to make a favorable first impression. With the hard work of our landscape employees, I’m confident that visitors will not leave disappointed.”
Flowerbeds that welcome visitors to the Capitol grounds will be draped in a blanket of ageratum, alternanthera, angelonia, canna, dusty miller, impatiens, marigolds, dahlia, purple fountain grass, salvia and wave petunias. The landscape design for Kentucky’s Capitol grounds was created by the Olmsted Brothers, which was established by Frederick Law Olmsted, the founder of American landscape architecture. Olmsted’s firm, Olmsted Brothers, Boston, Mass., also designed the landscape of many famous attractions, including Central Park in New York City and the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. Olmsted also designed Louisville’s extensive public park system.
Although the Executive Mansion is currently undergoing a restoration, the formal garden in front of the Executive Mansion, home to Governor and Mrs. Fletcher, will be dressed up in time for the Derby with a variety of flowers and plants grown in greenhouses operated by the Finance and Administration Cabinet’s Landscape Branch. The building’s architectural design and front courtyard were inspired by the Petit Trianon, or small castle, at the Chateau de Versailles in Paris, France.
Kentucky’s famous floral clock will feature a colorful display of ageratum, sweet potato vine and multiple colors of alternanthera for the 2007 Governor’s Derby Breakfast. The face of the giant clock is a 34-foot wide planter that weighs 100 tons. Although Kentucky’s floral clock is not the only floral clock in the world, it is unique because it keeps time while suspended above a pool of water. Coins tossed into the reflective pool are collected to fund scholarships sponsored by the Garden Club of Kentucky.
The remainder of the Capitol grounds also undergoes a spring makeover in preparation for the Derby. Trees are pruned and sidewalks are edged. The colorful Derby banners that hang from the streetlights bordering Capital Avenue are cleaned and put into place. Paint is touched up and green spaces are fertilized and treated for weeds to ensure they are lush and green for the first Saturday in May.
The Governor’s Derby Breakfast will be Saturday, May 5, 2007, from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. For more information, please visit http://governor.ky.gov/derbycelebration/ .