Thursday, September 12, 2013

This 'n That Thursdays: "Imaginary Worlds: Plants Larger than Life" at the Atlanta Botanical Garden

My husband and I had been planning to visit the mosaiculture exhibition at the Atlanta Botanical Garden since it debuted in May.  This past Saturday we finally found the time to go, and we are so glad we did -- what a treat!  "Imaginary Worlds: Plants Larger than Life" was created by a partnership between the Garden and International Mosaiculture of Montreal.  More than 100,000 plants were used to form 19 unique living sculptures in the first major mosaiculture display in the United States.  A metal form covered in special fabric is stuffed with growing medium into which thousands of tiny plants are inserted.  The foliage is meticulously groomed as the carefully selected plants grow out to create each specially designed piece.  The living sculptures are maintained daily by the Garden's horticulture team, assisted by seven temporary workers hired just for this exhibition.  The intensive efforts required to maintain the display are worth all the hard work -- just check out these photos:

Two cobras


Two butterflies


A Canopy Walk leads to the next sculpture.

Shaggy dog

A most impressive Earth Goddess

My husband the ecologist communing with the Earth Goddess.

Two dancing fish (they rotate!)

Five rabbits (I seem to be missing one)

Three giant berries

As if the mosaiculture sculptures were not enough to make our visit enjoyable, the Atlanta Botanical Garden was also hosting a "Chocolate Weekend" event while we were there!  Cooking demonstrations and chocolate samples of all sorts were available for free to all who came to the garden that weekend.  We got to sample some great chocolates (I fell in love with the white chocolate-covered pink champagne cake truffle made by Candy Cake Company, while my husband was impressed with the dark chocolate ginger bonbon from Chocolate South).  I also had to get the recipe for the Dark Chocolate Coconut Shake being served at one of the booths (very appropriate for today, which is National Chocolate Milkshake Day).

We had lunch at MetroFresh in the Garden, which was good but not great.  All of the food was made with quality fresh ingredients, but our biggest complaint was that the sandwiches had way too much bread, especially mine, which was cut from the end piece of their ciabatta bread sandwich and had almost no filling.  The sandwiches were also too cold (served straight out of the refrigerator) -- the use of a microwave would have been helpful.  A lady pea salad was listed on the menu, but when I ordered it I was told that they had used corn instead of the lady peas.  The corn salad was okay, but the dressing needed more vinegar to counteract the excessive sweetness of the freshly cut corn kernels.  The best part of the café was their make-your-own gorp bar, where you could combine any number of ingredients from about a dozen bins filled with various dried fruits, nuts, and candies.  This was a clever idea and a big hit with children.  I think the café is relatively new and perhaps with a little time they will work out the kinks and become a truly great place to eat.

I did manage to take a few photos of other garden plants -- it was a beautiful day, not too humid, and it did not get too hot until the middle of the afternoon, so the weather was perfect for taking pictures.

Beautyberry (Callicarpa sp.), one of my favorite plants.

White hydrangea

White eggplant

Colorful zinnias

Red spider lily (Lycoris radiata), a popular garden plant in the South.

Yellow hibiscus

Blanket flower (Gaillardia sp.), another favorite of mine.

Three frog sculptures grace the Fuqua Orchid Center,
which houses the Garden's impressive orchid collection.

One of our favorite spots is the small but serene Japanese garden:

The moon gate entrance

There is a small teahouse where you can sit and admire the view:

The persimmon tree next to the teahouse.

The exit gate

A lantern near the exit gate.

The mosaiculture exhibition will only be at the Atlanta Botanical Garden until October, so if you are in the area I encourage you to go take a look -- you won't regret it.  And don't forget to enjoy the rest of the Garden as well!

A view through the treetops in the Garden!

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