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  • Ellen Mary

Atlanta Botanical Garden

My only fear about part time moving to the US was driving. I’d never driven an automatic or on a freeway with big trucks before. An odd fear since I’ve been driving safely for 24 years! However, after a week I realised I wouldn’t be able to visit all of the gardens on my list without driving, so I pulled my ‘big girl pants on’ as my friend put it and got in the car. Suffice to say all was fine and the worry was for no reason....but really the only reason I got my US drivers licence was to go see plants!

One of my first longer trips was down to Georgia to visit the Atlanta Botanic Garden and now I’ve driven through ridiculously crazy traffic around Atlanta I feel like there is no road I can’t drive!

An early spring morning meant the Daffodils in pots were blooming and the Camellias were out in force. We are little ahead of the UK and it was a very welcome sight. Most of the garden is surrounded by trees, mostly deciduous and I love that structure they give plus the dried muted orange coverage of leaves on the ground and the few still hanging on rustling in the wind.

I headed straight over to the Orchid Daze exhibition to revel further in my Orchid obsession. And revel I did. The exhibition was based on a South American designer and used bright colours with Orchids along with other plants such as Bromeliads in the design. Lovely.

I wandered through to world famous Orchid collection and it was beautiful. Was it as good as the Singapore collection? Well no, not to my eyes but was it a great experience...absolutely! Of course the difference is that Singapore lives and breathes Orchids, the climate is perfect, it is the symbol of the country and visiting in the sunshine and warmth does make a difference when viewing such colourful plants but in Atlanta I found many Orchids I had never seen before including perhaps my new favourite, the curly wurly Dendrobium spectabile and many others all with faces which never cease to amaze me. It was a very welcome treat during a damp and grey day.

Leaving the exhibition I wandered through the kitchen garden area which was so lovely to see at this time of year, especially when I am missing my allotment! Swathes of red and green cabbages, herbs and a green wall plus containers full of edibles. Some great examples that any of us can take inspiration from to grow our own.

The gardens also have wonderful sculptures which are covered in plants when spring and summer are in full force but even seeing the shapes and having the garden practically to myself because of the time of year, it was all very stunning.

After a cold walk around and the long drive I made my way back to the hotel and promised to return in the summer to see how the garden flourishes with colour in just a few months.

A great botanical garden ticked off the bucket list! Find out more about the gardens HERE


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