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Atlanta Botanical Garden offers new exhibit, concerts, cocktails, more

Which popular Atlanta attraction is offering an intimate show with a legendary R&B singer, a gallery anchored by painted dead trees and a stunning new look at the Atlanta skyline?

Piedmont Park’s neighbor, the Atlanta Botanical Garden, will bloom throughout summer with a series of family-friendly and date-worthy events beginning this month.

From a whimsical new exhibit to an expansion that is sure to be booked with weddings for months to come, here are four reasons why you should spend time in the downtown garden in the next few months:

Skyline Garden

The Atlanta Botanical Garden’s breathtaking new space is sure to become one of the most popular wedding and proposal spots in Atlanta.

The Anne Cox Chambers Flower Walk leads patrons down a path lined with tropical plants and rectangular installations of various heights that imitate the Atlanta skyline, which is visible in the distance. The remainder of Skyline Garden is visible from the top of the Robinson Gazebo, a contemporary space that will hold live performances and private events including, yes, weddings.

The 1.5-acre garden also features an aquatic plant pond, a bog garden that offers an up-close look at plants such as Venus’ flytrap, and a display of the garden’s cactus and succulent collection. The latter are displayed in a series of steel boxes throughout the space. Stone planters created from spaces used during the 1800s Cotton States Exposition in Piedmont Park are scattered throughout the garden’s new space. Atlanta Botanical Garden officials say the planters were incorporated as a nod to an oft-forgotten piece of history.

9 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays. $21.95; children (ages 3-12), $15.95; members and children under 3, free. Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta.

‘The Curious Garden’

The peculiar colored trees in the Atlanta Botanical Garden are bringing joy to Atlanta residents rerouted through Piedmont because of construction on the collapsed I-85 bridge, according to the garden’s CEO. Mary Pat Matheson said she’s heard from a few commuters about how the trees, a part of the garden’s new “The Curious Garden” exhibit, have elicited a smile despite their traffic woes.

Created by Adam Schwerner, the mostly dead trees that have been installed and spray-painted various colors throughout the garden are certainly the standout pieces of the garden’s new exhibit, open May 6 through Oct. 29. But the yellow, periwinkle, salmon and teal trees are just one of 11 installations that are a part of the new exhibit. Red discs form stairs above the bridge that invites guests to marvel at the garden’s signature “Earth Goddess.” Another section that has been transformed into the “White Garden” currently features plants such as foxglove, hydrangeas, roses, daisies and more. The space will transform every few weeks to replace plants that have finished blooming. Inside the conservatory, chandeliers hang above guests, draped in plants such as orchids and Spanish moss. An interpretive wall within the indoor space will showcase the inspiration behind the exhibit.

Where Atlanta Botanical Garden exhibits such as the recent “Chihuly in the Garden” highlighted art with the plants as the backdrop, this exhibit brings the attention back to the garden itself. The purpose of the exhibit is to “shock” visitors into paying closer attention to the nature around them.

9 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays. May 6-Oct. 29. $21.95; children (ages 3-12), $15.95; members and children under 3, free. Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta.

Cocktails in the Garden

After a two-year hiatus, Cocktails in the Garden returns May 11 in the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s new Skyline Garden space. Unwind from a long day at work by mingling with other adults and taking in “The Curious Garden” exhibit.

Occurring every Thursday through Sept. 28, Cocktails in the Garden will take place in a different section of the popular Atlanta attraction every month. Local arts organizations and a DJ will provide live entertainment during the event as attendees sip drinks from a cash bar, play games on the lawn and admire the new installations. In previous years, the Atlanta Ballet and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra participated in this event. This year’s participants have not been announced.

6-10 p.m. Thursdays. May 11-Sept. 28. $21.95; members, free. Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta.

Gardens for Connoisseurs Tour

The Atlanta Botanical Garden will continue its annual tradition of hosting a tour of private Atlanta gardens during Mother’s Day weekend.

The two-day tour highlights 10 of the most stunning private gardens this city has to offer, including ones designed and maintained by professional landscapers and everyday homeowners. A ticket will grant you access to gardens in Virginia-Highland, Ansley Park, Buckhead and more. Participants will travel to each location on their own, allowing them to complete the tour at their own pace.

Online ticket sales end on May 11, but tickets can be purchased during the tour at any of the participating gardens.

10 a.m.-5 p.m. May 13-14. $22-$35; children under 12, free. Various locations (see website for a list of the gardens).


Garden Chef Demos

Visit the Atlanta Botanical Garden on Saturdays and Sundays and watch as a chef prepares a meal in the Edible Garden Outdoor Kitchen using the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s fresh fruit, vegetable and herb garden. The demos are free with admission to the garden.

Noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Through October. $21.95; children (ages 3-12), $15.95; members and children under 3, free. Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta.

Concerts in the Garden

The 15th annual Concert in the Garden series will feature performances from acts including Gladys Knights, Vince Gill and Barenaked Ladies. Concerts will take place at the Great Lawn at the downtown garden or the Ivester Amphitheater at the Gainesville garden. View the full lineup of summer shows at

8 p.m. Dates vary. Prices vary. Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta; Atlanta Botanical Garden in Gainesville, 191 Sweetbay Drive, Gainesville.

Wine in the Woodlands

Can’t make it to Cocktails in the Garden? Don’t worry. The Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Gainesville location hosts a similar monthly event that allows attendees to enjoy live music and alcohol in the garden.

6-9 p.m. Dates vary. $8; members, free. Atlanta Botanical Garden in Gainesville, 191 Sweetbay Drive, Gainesville.

‘Ribbit the Exhibit’

North Carolina artist Andy Cobb is behind the current “Ribbit the Exhibit” at the garden’s Gainesville location. Twenty-three anthropomorphic frogs are featured in this exhibit.

9 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays. Through July 15. $8; children (ages 3-12), $5; members and children under 3, free. Atlanta Botanical Garden in Gainesville, 1911 Sweetbay Drive, Gainesville.

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About the Author

Jewel Wicker is an Atlanta native, Georgia State University graduate and entertainment reporter. She typically covers local events.