The exhibit, which opened May 3 and will continue through Oct. 31, features 28 living sculptures — with nine new characters along with re-crafted favorites from last year.
“We knew we wanted to do the show a second year because it was such a great success [in 2013],” said garden CEO and President Mary Pat Matheson. “But I also wanted to freshen it up and do something new.”
Four frogs, three gorillas and a pair of orangutans are the new introductions to the exhibit. Sculptures returning from last summer’s inaugural exhibit are the shaggy dog, the cobras, the Earth Goddess, the unicorn, the butterflies, the rabbits, the dancing fish, the ogre and the giant berries. Many are decked out with new plantings and located in different areas of the garden.
“We wanted a sequence for people to see pieces all the way through the garden,” Matheson said. “We spread them out. We also like them to fit in a theme that makes sense for the piece.”
One sculpture — the Earth Goddess — will be remaining at the garden after October as a permanent exhibit.
“This piece we decided to purchase, because I wanted a legacy piece that would stay beyond the life of the exhibition,” Matheson said.
The art form behind the exhibit is known as mosaiculture, which was created in Canada by the International Mosaiculture of Montreal and is the horticultural art of creating large topiary-like sculptures using thousands of annual bedding plants to cover steel forms.
“This is the first time an exhibit of this size is in the United States, and a lot of people aren’t familiar with mosaiculture,” said garden spokesman Danny Flanders. “You don’t see this every day, so Atlantans need to take advantage of it while it’s here.”
Said Matheson, “This is the only place in the world this exhibit is going on this year. Last year, we had one here, and there was another major exhibit in Montreal.”
In addition to viewing the exhibit during regular daytime hours, adult patrons can check out the sculptures at night as part of the Cocktails in the Garden series that will run Thursday nights from 6 to 10 p.m. through September. Specialty drinks will be served, inspired by themes from the exhibit, and there will be chef demonstrations and music.
If you go:
What: “Imaginary Worlds: A New Kingdom of Plant Giants”
When: exhibit runs through Oct. 31
Where: Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Ave., Midtown
Cost: $18.95 for adults, $12.95 children 3 to 12 and free for children under 3 and garden members