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Imaginary Worlds in Atlanta

I recently saw a very big snake in my garden. He was shiny black with a yellow stripe down his body. I watched as he slithered into his hole under a shrub. It wasn't the biggest snake I have seen this season. This past weekend I confronted a towering cobra, who was coiled and posturing with extended hood and readiness to strike. But I was not afraid.

The cobra is an example of mosaiculture, an art form that looks similar to topiary, though not topiary at all. Steel frames are stuffed with a growing medium and equipped with an internal irrigation system, and then thousands of plants are plugged into place to create colorful textures. Regular grooming maintains the artistic lines. The Imaginary Worlds exhibit is running through October 2013 at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

There are 19 living sculptures in the exhibit, including a grazing unicorn, a shaggy dog, and a 25-foot-tall Goddess rising up from the earth. Here are a few of these magical creations:

There were also some more traditional sculptures that I really liked, including this happy little girl:

And look closely at this boy playing the pipes. Do you see the dragonfly?

And, finally, here are just a few of the plants that caught my attention:

It was a great day at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, and I didn't want to return to the real world!

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Reader Comments (22)

What a great post. I love the color and the garden sculptures. Both the statuary and the live plants. The dog is amazing.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

Hi Deb! I'm not a big fan of this kind of things, I think they don't have much in common with real gardening, although I have to admit that unicorn and the giant dog really impressed me! The visit must have been very interesting, that fountain with blue glass swirls is stunning! And the picture of the dragonfly is beautiful!

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlberto

How nice! The dog I particularly liked, it's very realistic. The shot of the dragonfly closeup is great, I never manage to get a picture of them, they are so elusive and fast!

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGraziella

That shaggy dog! Oh my --- how creative it all is. And the huge goddess. Plants are such a vast source of magic and imagination, and they let their minds go crazy with what could be done with them. Fascinating.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaurrie

Lovely pictures! As many times as I've been to Atlanta, I haven't been to the Botanical Gardens. Now I can't believe I've missed it! Will make the trip later this month! Thanks!

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Wow, how inspiring. I have an area where I am designating for topiary but will not start it until next year...with a replica of a peacock similar to that at the Dallas Arborteum. But the woman with hair and hand...is giving me second thoughts...She is amazing...

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanie

I've never been to the Atlanta Botanical Garden. That is an awesome display. I need to get over there.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPhillip

Very fun. I like the shaggy dog and the goddess.

Wonderful, I wouldn't mind meeting a cobra like him! The shaggy dog is amazing too, does he have to have a regular haircut? I'm not surprised that you didn't want to leave , it all seems so inspirational.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterpauline

Wow! These are wonderful pictures - it's too bad I can't convince my husband to fly across the US to visit a botanical garden. The picture capturing the dragonfly is particularly great. Thanks for sharing your trip.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKris P

Like most of the other commentors I liked the shaggy dog the most. I also noticed that most of the plants you liked looked like sculptures too. This looks like a very inspiring botanic garden, I must put it on my wish list of places to visit. Christina

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

I can imagine you had a great day Deb. You made me curious so I watched the sculptures on Vimeo. They are very big and impressive. And fun!

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDenise

Very interesting; it looks like it was a delightful day! The shaggy dog mosaiculture is eerily life-like.

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJean

Fabulous post Deb - wish I could see it in person. The shaggy dog is amazing - my favorite too. I wonder how they set up an internal drip irrigation system? Very clever

June 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren Chapman

Oh how creative! I suppose it is one step on from living walls. Looks like a great day out - no wonder you were reluctant to return to reality!

June 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterThe Gardening Shoe

I don't know which was crazier, the topiaries or the actual plants you photographed. Great shots of both. I'm adding ABG to my list of places to visit.

Deborah your pics are amazing...I had not seen this type of plant art but love it...very creative...and your dragonfly is magical!!

June 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDonna@Gardens Eye View

Great post! Everything is so fanciful! I can only imagine the work that goes into maintaining these living sculptures.

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBom

I have never seen sculptures like this before. My lawn would look great with that cobra rising out of it.

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterb-a-g

Deb, I have never seen this mosaiculture before, it is quite remarkable and probably has its place in this diverse world of gardening. The shaggy dog is quite something.

June 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlistair

I am ashamed to say that I have never been to the Atlanta Botanical Garden and I only live about an hour and a half or so from there. And I love to garden and everything about gardening! Thank you for the peek! I will have to get there one day!!

June 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

After seeing this post I decided we should go see for ourselves. We did! We saw it this past weekend and it was just lovely! It was hot, but enough shade to make it bearable. Dodged a brief heavy downpour by hiding out in the orchid house. Loved the Earth Goddess and other plant sculptures. Thanks for putting the bug in my ear!

July 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine
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