Atlanta Botanical Garden

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.

wall of white orchids

Best tour guide ever, Kylie
Best tour guide ever, Kylie

Kylie took us through the permanent collection of the ABG, which is essentially a huge archive of plants.

Atlanta Botanical GardenThe plant has started growing through the holes of the plant holder!

spiky leavesThe leaves had little raised dots – like braille.

salvaged soilKylie 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.

berry plant giant berry plant giantThe ABG hosts cooking lessons on Saturdays and Sundays, using fruits and veggies that they grow. The rest of the produce is donated to the Atlanta Food Bank.

wee squash purple and red capsicumsAfter wandering around the veggies, M. Stewart and I decided we were both a bit peckish and nipped into the café for some lunch.

chicken salad sandwichShe got the Napa chicken salad sandwich with fruit salad.

prosciutto and cheese paniniI went for the Prosciutto and cheese (swiss and brie) panini with fruit salad. Because prosciutto.  Always.

After filling ourselves with yummy sandwiches, we went off in search of the kid’s area.

water featureThere’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.

water feature children's play area ginger in a hut Look! I’m as tall as a sunflower!ginger is as tall as a sunflower ginger in a doorway mr. bluebird pond red flower lily pads fountain frogs in a  fountain gnomesWe went for a quick turn about the Trustee’s garden. (Which wasn’t very exciting)

trustee gardenBut I did find one of my favorite flowers in bloom! Growing up in Louisiana, Magnolia trees were all over. I love seeing them because they remind me of where I’m from.

magnoliaWe found a few more of their Mosaicultures which are Plant Giants!

butterfly plant giantI made a new friend, Mr. Frog.ginger and mr. frogWe found some dancing fish.fish plant giantsAtlanta Botanical GardenSome orangutans.orangutan plant giantsAtlanta Botanical GardenAtlanta Botanical Garden

An ogreogre plant giant A cobra.cobra plant giantWe went for a swing on the Overlook.

swinging gingerThen we went on through Storza Woods to see the Earth Goddess, who was getting her hair done.

water droplets on spider web A Gorillagorilla plant giants Cascades garden and Earth Goddess.cascades garden earth goddess storza woods 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.downtown atlanta We walked by Chihuly’s sculpture on our way to the Conservatory.

Dale Chihuly sculptureAnd found some spare peppers.

peppers And the Japanese garden.japanese garden japanese garden And the Rose Garden.rose garden mini tea rosesMost importantly, a unicorn nomming.unicorn plant giants pink speckled leaves And some bunnies getting caught red-handed.bunny plant giants bunny plant giants bunny plant giants lily pads And some froggies.frog plant giants frog plant giants frog plant giants pink flowers Atlanta Botanical Garden 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.Rhus Then we went inside the Conservatory to cool off enjoy the orchid displays.tropical greenhouse orchids flowers purple leaves yellow flower red bulbsI think these look way cooler from the bottom.
red bulbs

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?

wall of purple orchids orchid center orchid center orchid center Atlanta Botanical Garden orchids speckled pod orchids orchids orchids orchids pretty flowers spotted leaves orchids orchids purple flower Eventually we made it through to the rainforest part.Conservatory Conservatory

And then the frogs.frog! poisonous frogs blue poison frog frog plant giants lily pads These guys kinda freak me out. Also I feel very cheated that they are made from fake gourds.creepy heads Great LawnAt 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?

 

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