What is the experience like at the Atlanta Botanical Garden?

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Dana Hazels Seith

Gardening to most is a leisurely hobby. In Atlanta, however, with its ideal climate and affinity for all things coiffed and manicured, Southerners take blooms quite seriously.

There isn’t a flower quite as beautiful as an orchid. Nor is there one quite as temperamental. Through April 14, the Atlanta Botanical Garden combines living plants with an artistic movement for the dreamlike exhibit, Orchid Daze: Surreal Beauty.

Inspired by the surrealism movement in art, Surreal Beauty builds from the creative genius of Salvador Dali, Jean Arp and Rene Magritte and intersperses those whimsical notions with elegant orchids. Colorful elements — like stilettos suspended from the ceiling holding planted, jewel-toned slipper orchids — are playful and beautiful attempts at taking the plants out of their everyday existence.

The delicate flowers, alive in a variety of hues, are enhanced by creating object displays like rain made from pink and white dendrobium blossoms with umbrellas suspended nearby. The usual seriousness that comes from the sophisticated plant is stripped down with the exhibit, bringing amusement to gardening.

In addition to Surreal Beauty, on Thursday, February 14, the Atlanta Botanical Garden hosts Valentines in the Garden from 7-11 p.m. Sip cocktails and taste a variety of chocolates while exploring the lush exhibit. For some, the unreal display might require a little more detail, and every Saturday at 1 p.m. those visitors can take a guided exhibition tour to get the natural attraction’s full effect.

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