|The view from the Alston Overlook at the Atlanta Botanical Garden
In mid-May, I took a weekend trip to Atlanta to catch a symphony performance, try some restaurants and most importantly, see some gardens!
I saw way too much to pack into a single blog post, so this will be the first of four blog posts this week chronicling my Atlanta adventures.
To kick things off, here are some of the highlights from the Atlanta Botanical Garden, which has an amazing exhibition going on right now called Imaginary Worlds that features giant fantastical living topiary sculptures scattered throughout the gardens.
|Giant ogre head at Atlanta Botanical Garden
|Good to know.
|Now here's a shaggy dog story for ya.
|Frog @ Atlanta Botanical Garden, Imaginary Worlds exhibit
|Plenty of visitors were charmed by this towering snake, part of the Imaginary Worlds
|Imaginary Worlds butterfly @ Atlanta Botanical Garden
|Another butterfly at Imaginary Worlds, Atlanta Botanical Garden
|These Imaginary Worlds fish not only are standing on their tails and spouting water, but they also can spin!
|Some big berries in the Edible Garden section of the Atlanta Botanical Garden
Clearly I was impressed / amused / fascinated by the Imaginary Worlds exhibition, but I also was bowled over by some of the plants in the Atlanta Botanical Garden collection. Here were some of the highlights for me:
|Bee in a Southern Magnolia blossom. I didn't even think that Southern Magnolias were pollinated by bees. (I'd read that they were pollinated by beetles.) But apparently this bee - and some others that I saw buzzing around the Magnolias - didn't know that it wasn't supposed to pollinate a Magnolia.
|Another view of a Southern Magnolia blossom
|Orchids in the tropical Fuqua Orchid Center. How I wish we had a tropical greenhouse in Nashville!
|I'm kinda fascinated by Japanese Plum Yews these days. I added three Cephalotaxus harringtonia plum yews to my garden this spring, but this is a different species - Cephalotaxus lanceolata, Yunnan Plum Yew. It's hard to find much information on the Yunnan Plum Yew -- and I can't imagine it's easy to find at nurseries either -- but apparently it could be hardy through zone 7 and into the warmer parts of zone 6 (per Arnold Arboretum)
|Convolvulus sabatius (a.k.a. Convolvulus mauritanicus), Ground Morning Glory, a marvelous-looking groundcover, but sadly it only seems to be hardy to zone 8. Story of my life!
|I like whimsical garden art like this weathered iguana-looking critter.
|Close-up on the striking foliage and interesting pine cone of Pinus parviflora ogon "Miyajima"
|A step back for a broader view of Pinus parviflora Ogon "Miyajima"
|I'd never seen a pomegranate plant in person before! The flowers really are as pretty as they look in the books and magazines. This was identified as Punica granatum "Purple Sunset", which apparently is a dwarf pomegranate that produces relatively small purple fruit. An article in Nursery Management magazine describes Purple Sunset as being hardy to 10 degrees Fahrenheit and thus christens it as acceptable for zone 7, but personally I wouldn't plant any pomegranates north of zone 8.
|Saxifraga stolonifera, Strawberry Begonia, very pretty both in terms of its foliage and its airy flowers. Looked like a marvelous groundcover in this shady setting. I've held back due to concerns over lack of drought tolerance (though Troy Marden lists it as "surprisingly drought tolerant" in his book Plant This Instead)
|I couldn't find the tag for this stunning variegated groundcover. It was growing in a tropical greenhouse.
|Trachelospermum jasminoides, Confederate Jasmine, Star Jasmine "Madison", had a lovely intoxicating fragrance. Most sources only list Star Jasmine as being hardy to zone 8, but some gardeners do report success in zone 7.
|These Premier Rabbiteye blueberries were ripening nicely in the Edible Garden
|Can you feel the magic at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens? Even after the rest of the Imaginary Worlds exhibit wraps up, this Earth Goddess sculpture will remain as a permanent, living part of the gardens. Brilliant design!