On my recent visit down south, my host had to go to Atlanta for two days on a job. Never having been there before, I had heard much about the city both good and bad. Curious to see it, I accompanied him on his trip. Some of the negative things people say about the sprawl and traffic of Atlanta may be true, but the weekend we went happened to coincide with the bloom of the city’s dogwood trees, and the weather was perfect. A morning walk through the neighborhoods of Grant Park and Cabbagetown, the peaks of their houses floating in white clouds of dogwood blossoms, contrasting with the lurid magenta of the azaleas below, was pretty magical. Afterwards, I did a quick tour of nearby Oakland Cemetery, where the spring foliage and flowers added a touch of lightness to the interesting marble and granite headstones and mausoleums.
In the afternoon I headed to the city’s Botanical Garden. It’s rather compact as far as botanical gardens go, but well planned. One of the more formal garden areas, with bright yellow and orange tulips planted between clipped boxwood, and a blown glass sculpture by the artist Dale Chihuly temporarily installed in its fountain was a great study in harmony and contrasts. The highlights for me though, had to be the conservatories, particularly the one filled with plants (and animals) from New Caledonia, and the Woodland garden with its canopy walk, a suspension bridge that crossed the road underneath. A piece of engineering and construction that would have been of interest even on its own, but it also harmonized perfectly in the environment