Giving in Action
Annual Fund gifts help sustain engaging Garden experiences and the beautiful surroundings that visitors so treasure.
Highlighted below are a few recent examples of programs that are realized with Annual Fund gifts.
Healthy Culinary Delights
Showcasing the farm-to-table concept of cultivating and consuming fresh, local and sustainably grown food, programs held in the Edible Garden Outdoor Kitchen have become a huge success. In 2012, over 10,000 visitors attended Garden Chef cooking demonstrations, where they discovered healthy and delicious seasonal recipes.
“Our talented Garden Chefs are charged with presenting visitors new ways of incorporating fresh, seasonal veggies and fruits into our diets in order to help us live healthier lifestyles”, says Tracy McClendon, Vice President of Programs at the Garden. Each weekend from May - October, Garden Chefs create mouthwatering recipes, including ingredients harvested from the Edible Garden such as figs, tomatoes, kale, okra, blackberries, zucchini, and sweet potatoes. Extending the boundaries of the Outdoor Kitchen, visitors have access to Garden Chef Recipes and the Plant to Plate blog.
The Fuqua Conservatory’s Desert House has a new display of plant specimens endemic (native) to Socotra. Sanskit for “island of bliss,” Socotra is an archipelago off of the Horn of Africa, belonging to the Republic of Yemen. Designated a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site, a third of Socotra’s unique flora is found nowhere else on earth. Some remarkable examples of Socotra flora successfully propagated by the Garden for display include: Dendrosicyos socotrana, Euphorbia arbuscula, Euphorbia abdelkuri, Cissus subaphylla, and Hibiscus scottii.
Endangered and extremely rare in cultivation, Dendrosicyos socotrana is a member of the cucumber family and one of the tallest trees on Socotra. The Garden’s specimen has a way to grow before it reaches an approx. 6 meters in height! Unlike its relative Cissus sicyoides, with roots hanging from the rafters of the tropical rotunda, the Cissus subaphylla is a low growing, shrub-like plant in the grape family. Euphorbia arbuscula and Euphorbia abdelkuri lack leaves and flowers and are known for their highly toxic, latex sap.
Native to Madagascar and southern Africa, larger specimens of Pachypodiums and Adeniums are also on display. Intimidating with tall, upright spiny trunks ranging from dark gray to silver, Pachypodiums exhibit alluring flowers in late winter and early spring. Often called “desert roses,” Adeniums have pink flowers, a brilliant contrast against the desert’s backdrop of thorns and spines.
Tucked behind the Fuqua Conservatory and Orchid Center, visitors can view a stream that represents a calcareous spring run, a habitat characterized by high mineral content from a source of flowing groundwater. The stream is constructed to highlight the fragile ecosystems of native wetlands and the Garden’s critical conservation work on these habitats.
Threatened by development, agriculture, silviculture, and invasive species, calcareous spring runs and fens are some of the rarest and most endangered of Georgia’s habitats, with plant species found nowhere else in the world. As part of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation 5 Star Restoration Grant program, the conservation team works with partners to restore wetlands in Northwest Georgia through invasive species removal and land management. Thousands of rare plants have been propagated, such as Georgia Alder, Virginia Spiraea, and Tennessee Yellow-Eyed grass, for recovery and outplanting to restored habitats.
Look for these endangered plants along the stream and in the Conservation Garden, along with a variety of native orchid species including: Spiranthes vernalis, S. lacera v. gracilis, S. odorata, S. cernua, Platanthera clavellata, Platanthera integrilabia, Calopogon tuberosus, Pogonia ophioglossoides, and Habenaria repens.
Tropical Crop Garden
The Fuqua Conservatory has a new Tropical Crop Garden. Discover a model garden showcasing a wide range of tropical fruits, root crops, spices and medicinal plants. Paul Blackmore, Manager of the Garden Conservatory, explains its purpose is to "give visitors a sense of what constitutes a mixed garden farm found in villages throughout Africa and Southeast Asia."
A common form of agriculture in tropical countries, a mixed garden is planted around a house or in small plots around a village. Farmers plant crops designed to provide food, medicine and other products year-round for their families and to sell at village markets.
The Tropical Crop Garden includes the root vegetables cocyam and cassava (the leaves are used to make African stew); the spices vanilla, cardamom, ginger and grains of paradise (a seed imparting a peppery flavor to foods); cocoa; kaffir lime; and citrus medica, or citron (often candied and historically used for medicinal purposes).
Children in the Garden
Annual Fund gifts allow the Garden to offer events and classes for children that range from outdoor garden adventures to cooking lessons in the Edible Garden.
With the Garden as their classroom, excited kindergartners are introduced to ways in which plants and animals differ during Kinder in the Garden. In partnership with the City of Atlanta's Cultural Experience Project, more than 3,000 kindergartners from Atlanta Public Schools are welcomed to the Garden. During their visit, children explore diverse living collections, observe giant leaves in the Tropical Rotunda and small leaves in the Desert House, smell fragrant orchids and view colorful Poison Dart Frogs. The Garden lessons meet Georgia Performance Standards.
In addition, more than 800 students from Title 1 schools receive complimentary Garden admission. During their field trip, students engage with the wonders of nature and learn life science concepts by exploring the diversity of plants and habitats around the Garden.
For little ones, the Butterfly Maze in the Children's Garden has been recently updated with new plantings, such as Loropetalim 'Ever Red', a gorgeous cultivar with brilliant red blooms. In the Gnome Garden, various shade loving plants peak children's curiosity and imagination.
Frogs on Display
The Fuqua Conservatory lobby now houses six amphibian exhibits that continually engage visitors of all ages. The naturalistic displays showcase rare and endangered frogs from Central and South America. Visitors can marvel at frogs such as semi-transparent Glass Frogs, Splendid Leaf Frogs, and Amazonian Fringed Leaf Frogs. The conservation team tends to the rare and endangered amphibians during weekly Frog Freedings.
With more than one-third of the world's amphibian species threatened or endangered, the Garden's Amphibian Conservation team is deeply involved in conservation efforts. For example, Gopher Frog tadpoles are now raised in the Fuqua Orchid Center in an effort to renew their declining population. They are eventually released onto a Nature Conservancy Preserve.