Posted by: zhak39 | June 28, 2006

Rain Forest

Memorial Day weekend in Atlanta featured the first heat wave of the season. Not to be deterred; there are just too many wonderful things to do and see there. One adventure my lovely sister-in-law Beth treated Helen and me to was an afternoon at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

The gardens are both indoor and outdoor. Even the path from the parking lot gave a preview of multi-sensual delights. Among the shapes and colors of many common local flora were these gardenias. It seems to me that some of the most unassuming looking white flowers packed the biggest olfactory impact.

The outdoor gardens feature sculpture worked into the benches and landscape–lots of hands-on artwork. While this was fun, the real treasure was the rainforest exhibit. The entrance of the building features large terrariums housing a variety of jewellike and highly toxic South American tree frogs. The colors are phenomenal, slick greens, bold shiny blacks, reverberating reds, boundless blues.

The next step brings you into the exhibit itself. While the lobby features creatures behind glass, the next room is walking behind the glass itself. The rainforst floras are specific to their local conditions and the building replicates a variety of environments–high country, low country, valley, mountain, upper canopy, mid-canopy. Each room is temperature and humidity regulated and at intervals a hisss of mist is released over all.

(Clearly, for some people it was a bad hair day.)

Helen and I shared the camera and here is a small selection of what we walked among.

The most striking plant was in a room of its very own. This room was very thick with mist, the floor slick and the air full. I was actually concerned about bringing my camera in but when you take a peek, you’ll understand why I did.

Looks carnivorous, don’t you think?

One last impression that I got had to do with the thougtfulness of the professionals that put together these gardens. On the way to another building we saw a fountain that my skills just could not give justice to. The crown of this fountain is blown glass that caught and reflected the brilliance of the sun as the waterdrops did below. It is the centerpiece of a formal garden and retains the basic shape of a traditional fountain and yet also mirrors the wildness and exotic shapes of that alien plant that we just saw.


  1. It’s really hard to believe that is a plant and not a science fiction movie prop!

    The fountain is lovely!

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