Every year, the Atlanta Botanical Garden strives to showcase the beauty of orchids in unexpected ways.
This year the garden’s Orchid Daze indoor wintertime exhibition explores the many ways the showy plants grow on trunks, branches and the stems of other plants.
”We want to stage orchids to encourage new perspectives on and appreciation for the plants,” said Becky Brinkman, manager of the Fuqua Orchid Center, home to the largest collection of species orchids in the United States.
Set to run from Feb. 13 through April 10 in the Fuqua Orchid Center, the annual orchid showcase emphasizes the contrasts between vibrantly colored orchids and naturalistic wooden elements. Displays and plantings highlight epiphytic orchids, or ones that grow not in soil but on wood, including other plants, in a harmless, non-parasitic way.
Orchid Daze features thousands of orchids throughout the center. Skeletal trees form a minimalist grove in the Conservatory lobby. Bare trunks rise 12 to 18 feet toward the ceiling, while arching branches overhead form an arcade. The glossy green foliage of moth orchids (Phalaenopsis) clings to the branches in aerial clusters. A large tree trunk lying across the path displays flowers of similar color but presented at and below eye level. A cut in the fallen tree invites visitors to pass through the space.
In the Orchid Atrium, orchids hover from above, while visitors become trapped in the frozen orbits of hollow grapevine spheres dripping with the flowers of Cattleyas, their hybrids, and Miltoniopsis. The design weaves warm and cool colors throughout the space in sparkling shades of red, orange, salmon, pink and purple. The spheres range in diameter from about 2 to 5 feet and hang from the glass ceiling at varying heights.
Finally, in the Orchid Display Hall, twisting visual motion drives the aesthetics. A custom-fabricated grapevine “tornado” activates the space as it rises from ground level to overhead. Flowers festoon the intricately woven vine structure, their vitality contrasting with the dry branches.
Tickets to the Atlanta Botanical Garden are $18.95 for adults, $12.95 for children 3 to 12, and free to children younger than 3 and Garden members.
The garden is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday at 1345 Piedmont Ave. in Atlanta. On-site parking is available in the SAGE Parking Facility for free less than 30 minute, $20 for the first hour, $1 for each additional hour and $15 for all day.
For more information, visit www.atlantabg.org.