Is Tim Burton a Gardener?

06/12/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Gardeners, or anyone interested in plants, will love the new movie version of "Alice in Wonderland". Is Tim Burton a gardener? Somehow I doubt it, but he must be a worshiper of the Goddess Flora. From formal gardens to the jungle-like scenes when Alice is at her tiniest, flora is as integral to the story's visuals as the delightfully unruly creatures born of both Lewis Carroll and Tim Burton's imaginations. And then there's Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, giving the movie its soul as his baffled yet stoic Hatter helps Alice fulfill her Wonderland destiny.

I loved this new version, and not just because I saw it on a 6-story IMAX screen in 3-D (my first 3-D experience). Vines, flowers and foliage twine, trip, grow luxuriantly and create marvelous atmospheres of both order and menace, adding to Alice's adventure even before she falls down the hole and finds herself in Wonderland.

A garden party is one of the movie's earliest scenes, all white-painted gazebos and hedged lawns, a perfect setting for the white rabbit to lure a near grown-up Alice down the rabbit hole. Wonderland is a mix of extravagant lushness set against the devastation wrought by the Red Queen's rule. Yet the vile Queen (a bulbous headed Helena Bonham Carter) has her own formal, hedged gardens for her crazy croquet games where the flamingo mallet apologizes to the hedgehog ball. Her sister the White Queen has a castle set into a pale-glazed landscape.....I think any gardener would love this movie...from the tiny frog footmen and fish waiters, to the landscapes of our dreams.

Valerie blogs regularly about plants and gardens at