Monday, September 8, 2014

Nature By Design: The Atlanta Botanical Garden

In Atlanta, I've been living close to Piedmont Park, home to the Atlanta Botanical Garden. So on another day off, I took a solo stroll after breakfast and went for a 3-hour adventure through the lush and verdant grounds of this plant mecca.

The outdoor gardens have these giant plant sculptures, which are...well, weird.

Plant of the Apes?
Giant plant dog
Ummmm...okay. Moving on. I was pretty hungry by the time I got to the edible gardens. Here's a vertical herb garden, which was watered by an intricate vertical irrigation system that would drip through all the plants from top to bottom to reduce water waste.

Wait, you mean tea doesn't come from Starbucks?

But by far, my favorite was the Fuqua Orchid Center. It was basically a magical wonderland of weird and gorgeous orchids way beyond your regular ol' Trader Joe's phalaenopsis orchids.

Look at these cupcakes: 

Next to the orchid display greenhouse was the high elevation house, which showcased the diversity of plants in the Cloud Forest of the Andes Mountains in South America. Did I just make that up? No, but I wish I did. 

Check out these rare pitcher plants, which are carnivorous and eat insects and flies. I need ones of these guys in our house. Although I wonder if they have a taste for curious felines...

They also housed cool stuff like this curare plant, which is used for anesthesia and muscle relaxants during surgeries as well as a paralyzing dart poison by some indigenous tribes in the Amazon.


But let's get back to design, shall we? Check out these graphic prints that occur organically in nature, and the pops of color. On leaves, petals, flowers... Design inspiration is everywhere!

Love the graphic pop of white stem against the rich dark green....

These above two leaf patterns remind me of the Marimekko print and the general plant-motif we have hanging in our dining nook.

This plant reminds me a little of animal print...

...which, if used in the right way, is a great way to liven up a room and give it a little flair...

Image from   
Design & image from Charles Spada
This orchid is pretty, but it was the white against dark green polka dot leaves that caught my eye...
She wore an itsy bity teeny weeny petal polka dot leafy...
 ...a motif that would make for some cool walls on a nursery or kids' room.

And look at the balls of this flower, pairing pink/purple with green!

Check out the similar contrast pairing in Chrissis & Company Interiors' usage of pink against the 2013 color of the year, emerald green.

Yup. Mother Nature is a design trailblazer.

These little guys, who provided the soundtrack to the rain forest greenhouse, agree.

To top it all off, I ended my trip with a stroll through the skies in the Storza Woods tree canopy, 40 feet above the ground.

...and ended by communing with a 25-foot-tall Earth Goddess.

Got back to my hotel room just in time to witness a thunderstorm...from indoors.

Thank you, Mother Nature!