Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Part 2

Continued from last post.

The conservatory and orchid center at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens is on my short list of favorite places. It was pretty warm outside when we went in, so we didn’t tour the desert section this trip due to already overly warm, sweaty baby. We did wander through the tropical section though, which is always a favorite.

Long tendrils of roots from air plants hang down and make the whole place look sort of magical.

Since my last visit (unless I’ve just never noticed, but it seems like I would have), they’ve introduced some fauna to the flora.

I’m curious about these birds. Were they added as a conservation effort, an attraction, or do they have a symbiotic relationship with the plants? I’m especially curious if it’s the later. I’m hoping to introduce some animal life to the little permaculture set up we have started at home in some form (ducks, a chicken tractor, something, all of the above, don’t know yet), and I would very excited to find this practice being applied successfully in the botanical gardens.

In any case, after some wandering in the tropical conservatory, it was time for it to rain in the rain forest, so on we went.

Moving over to the orchid center, they have set up a display of some of the more common orchids and bromeliads in a sort of wide hallway filled with racks of plants. It’s almost a green wall type system, but not quite. I’m curious how they handle irrigation.

There didn’t appear to be any kind of tubing/drip system installed, just pots and more pots lashed to a metal grid with cable ties. While I suspect this was primarily for display purposes, I imagine this could have some wonderful application for growing herbs or food in small spaces.

We toured through the high altitude room and then through the general orchid collection, which was lovely and awe inspiring as always, but I admit I was a bit distracted trying to figure out how I could rig up shelving like that for growing onions the whole time. I have developed a plan along those lines, but I will save that for another post.

Outside the conservatory, also new I believe, is now an “edibles” garden. This was an unexpected highlight of our visit. I had no idea it was there! While it had several interesting features, I’m going to primarily focus on two here: green walls and fruit trees shaped to grow in small spaces.

The green walls in this garden followed a completely different set up than what was seen in the conservatory. These were masonry walls layered with what looked to be soil covered with a weed barrier type heavy cloth, then fastened on with a plastic grid system. The fabric was slashed with a seedling growing out of the center of each block of the grid. Running through out the grid appeared to be thin tubing that I assume was for irrigation purposes. The effect was a gorgeous, flourishing wall of herbs.

Nearby, along a wall that was not done this way, apple trees were growing behind rows of vegetables. Each had been carefully shaped to grow flat against the wall.

I’m curious what kind of yield these would offer each year. They certainly appear to be flourishing.

Soon after reaching this garden, Mellie woke up and was getting a bit grumpy, so we decided it might be time to head home and start dinner. We headed for the exit, snapping just a few pictures on the way out.I love this one with the lovely, round, sculptural form that serves as a gateway to the Japanese garden visible in the background.

I also got a few shots of some amazing blown glass work that is currently on display. The fountain is my favorite, with a hanging sculpture inside the main building that reminds me of pitcher plants coming in a close second.

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  1. […] the original post here: Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Part 2 ← Boerner Botanical Garden Rainwater Recycling Project Oklahoma Centennial Botanical […]

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