Sunday, March 29, 2015

New Botanical Garden Opens in Gainesville This Spring!

news release

I am so excited to see and hear about this!  While I absolutely adore the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, this new site will be much easier to access and visit for those of us in the North Georgia area. 

How excited are you for this new venue?  Check out the official press release below!

"The new Atlanta Botanical Garden, Gainesville, will open May 2, celebrating years of planning and development of one of North Georgia’s most beautiful landscapes aimed at connecting visitors with both the natural word and cultural amenities.

As an extension of the renowned Atlanta Botanical Garden, the $21 million initial phase, developed on 168 acres given to the Atlanta Garden in 2002 by Gainesville philanthropists Charles and Lessie Smithgall, will include a contemporary visitor center, 2000-seat amphitheater, a train garden, and five acres of display gardens featuring nationally recognized plant collections.  Future plans call for an interactive children’s garden, a native plant conservation nursery, and a student training and education center.

'The opening of this garden marks a dream come true for so many – from our donors and supporters to our staff and the Smithgall family,' said Garden President & CEO Mary Pat Matheson.

The site, off Cleveland Highway, has been dubbed a “Smithgall Woodland Legacy” as a tribute to the late Charles Smithgall and his widow Lessie.

Botanical gardens are enjoyed as outdoor museums of living collections where visitors may connect with the wonders of the natural world.  At the Gainesville Garden, they will be amazed by the great diversity of plants featured in a series of carefully designed gardens, said Mildred Pinnell Fockele, Vice President of Horticulture and director of the Gainesville Garden.

'It’s very exciting to see the plants thriving in the gardens – from the beautiful deciduous magnolias, lilacs, and native azaleas that create a spring explosion, to the masses of blue and white hydrangeas and summersweet for summer color and fragrance, to the wonderful fall color of understory maples and fall-flowering perennials,' she said.  'It truly is going to be a multi-season garden.'

A horticultural operation has long been established on site, including a state-of-the-art greenhouse and a 3-acre conservation nursery, the largest in the Southeast.  When fully developed, the Gainesville Garden will allow the Atlanta Botanical Garden to broaden its plant conservation efforts with endangered species.

At the same time, visitors will be given access to beautiful green space and cultural amenities.  They include outdoor concerts, Wine in the Woodlands series on the last Thursday evening of every month May through October, and exhibitions such as Nature Connects 2, Art with LEGO Bricks by Sean Kenney September 18-January 3.

'The new garden will enable us to evolve to the next level, reaching people across the state and expanding our vital plant conservation programs,' Matheson said.

Opening weekend festivities will be held from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, May 2 and Sunday, May 3.  The event, free with admission, will emphasize fun activities and family entertainment, including face painting, games, children’s performances, and other live entertainment.  Discovery Stations throughout the garden will offer lessons on trees of the woodlands, garden railroads, and musical instruments made from plants.  Food and beverages will be available for purchase."

Atlanta Botanical Garden's Garden Glows with Bruce Munro's Garden Lights!

news release

The Atlanta Botanical Garden will be aglow this spring when it hosts the stunning outdoor art exhibition Bruce Munro: Light in the Garden, featuring unique installations created from hundreds of miles of fiber optics.

Munro, a British artist internationally acclaimed for his use of light as an artistic medium, will transform the Garden into an enchanting setting May 2- October 3. Open Wednesday through Sunday evenings, Light is a site-specific exhibition and the largest by the artist in the Southeast.

“This exhibition will be something unlike any other that Atlantans have experienced,” said Garden President & CEO Mary Pat Matheson. “At dusk, the Garden will become this enchanting yet natural landscape that visitors just have to see to believe.”

Inspired by everything from childhood humor to meditation, Munro conveys his love of experimentation through flickering light tubes, LED-lit bottles and innovative repurposed materials.

The exhibition includes six diverse site-specific installations, from immersive environments to sculptures, both throughout the gardens and inside the conservatories – some set to music. Equally diverse are the artist’s materials, from fiber optics to recyclable plastic bottles.

The exhibition’s largest and most spectacular installation, Forest of Light, features more than 30,000 flower-like spheres of light atop slender stems blanketing Storza Woods – a massive display that can be experienced both from the ground and from the Canopy Walk above. The display is an adaptation of Munro’s iconic Field of Light first exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum in 2004 and the largest installation of its kind in the world to date.
Another installation, Water Towers, includes massive cylindrical sculptures made of thousands of lighted, water-filled one-liter recyclable bottles.

Munro, whose first exhibition in this country was at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA, in 2012, learned about design and lighting while living in Australia shortly after college. In 1992, he returned to southwest England and set up a studio as an installation artist working in light. For several years, he created unique architectural lighting and sculptures for private residences and commercial spaces. Today, supported by a team of designers and technicians, he creates exhibition works and commissioned pieces.

Matheson said visitors are encouraged to come at dusk to see Light as it slowly comes to life. The exhibition also can be enjoyed as an extended evening experience complete with on-site dinners at The CafĂ© at Linton’s and cash bars.

Open from 6 – 11 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, Light is a ticketed special event. Admission is $22.95 adults, $15.95 children 3-12 on Peak Nights (Friday-Saturday) and $19.95 adults, $13.95 children 3-12 on Non-Peak Nights (Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday). Admission for Garden members is discounted to $9.95 adults, $7.95 children 3-12 every night (prices do not include sales tax and online transaction fee).