Both of us had a day off from work, so M. Stewart and I decided to spend a day wandering the Atlanta Botanical Garden. M. Stewart volunteers at the ABG, and so she was able to give me the inside scoop and arrange a VIP tour of the behind-the-scenes.
Kylie took us through the permanent collection of the ABG, which is essentially a huge archive of plants.
Kylie told us of a really amazing thing that happened recently where a woman brought in a truckload of dirt after a company had torn everything up from a plot of land and all that was left was about 16 square feet of dirt. The ABG had just built these trays and so they decided to water the dirt and see what happened. And all of this grew from that soil. How incredible that all this was still there!
After our VIP tour, M. Stewart and I started to explore the public parts of the ABG. We started with the edible garden.
After filling ourselves with yummy sandwiches, we went off in search of the kid’s area.
There’s only one way in/out of the kid’s area, so it’s pretty perfect for letting them run and scream their fool hearts out. It’s also great for any friends who are very tactile, like Kiwi, who like to touch things.
A Gorilla Cascades garden and Earth Goddess. I found it almost arresting to look up and see the Atlanta skyline. Inside the garden, even right next to Piedmont, it doesn’t feel like you’re in the heart of downtown Atlanta. The ABG is peaceful and relaxing. We walked by Chihuly’s sculpture on our way to the Conservatory.
And the Japanese garden. And the Rose Garden. Most importantly, a unicorn nomming. And some bunnies getting caught red-handed. And some froggies. This plant is a Rhus, M. Stewart works in a biology lab that took some seeds from this plant and grew baby plants to help it survive. Then we went inside the Conservatory to
cool off enjoy the orchid displays. I think these look way cooler from the bottom.
These gorgeous dinner-plate sized orchids are totally common and not biologically special, so these are actually bought and put on display. The ABG focuses more on growing species that are rare or in decline. But who goes to a garden other than to ooh and ahh over gorgeous flowers?
Eventually we made it through to the rainforest part.
And then the frogs. These guys kinda freak me out. Also I feel very cheated that they are made from fake gourds. At first when I saw the price tag, I thought it was a bit steep ($19 for adults). But having been there, I think it’s pretty well worth it. We easily spent the whole afternoon wandering and probably still could have seen more had we spent more time. They don’t allow outside food, so your lunch options are to eat at the café which was tasty but a little expensive (sandwich and a drink came to about $12) or to picnic in neighboring Piedmont Park.
Have you been to the ABG?