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."

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