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Good Question: Churchill Beauty

Preparations are underway for Derby 136 and that means making sure Churchill Downs looks its best.

Good Question: Just how many plants does it take to make Churchill downs look beautiful on derby weekend?

Making Churchill Downs look spectacular is a labor of love.

"Basically the eight of us are full time year round and we take care of everything." said Matt Bizzell, the Director of Horticulture at Churchill Downs.

Bizzell overseas a century old tradition at Churchill Downs, horticulture.

Wednesday, his team placed the final geraniums in the Kentucky Derby winner's circle.

"Its been red geraniums for as long as anybody can remember so that's kind of tradition, everything else kind of comes and goes, depending on the year." said Bizzell.

This year plenty of pink is being planted for the Susan G Komen Oaks Day Pink Out.

Among the 70 to 80 species of annuals they use each year, they start growing the plants in mid January and they only have a two week period to get them in place for derby.

"We will normally put like 10-12 thousand plants in the ground three or four days, which is quite a bit of work as you can imagine. Its on your knees planting, sometimes in the mud." said Bizzell.

In his 12 years at the downs, Bizzell knows one thing to be true-he'll plant, re-plant and its all part of tradition.

"Its so much fun in a chaotic, hectic sort of way." said Bizzell.

Churchill has converted an old horse hospital into a 12,000 square foot nursery, housing nearly 24,000 plants to be used this week.


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