In 2013, a menagerie of magical creatures cast an enchanting spell over the Garden with 19 monumental living sculptures of fantasy and delight.
The sculptures – ranging up to 25 feet tall and 20 feet wide – included a gazing unicorn, a friendly ogre, a pair of gigantic cobras, a group of enchanting rabbits, and a couple of flighty butterflies. The largest piece, a 25-foot-tall representation of a goddess emerging from the earth, greets visitors in the Cascades Garden. Earth Goddess is now a permanent feature in the Garden, and new pieces arrive in 2014.
Each sculpture is a living, sophisticated evolution of the traditional “stuffed topiary” technique. Thousands of meticulously groomed annuals are planted into soil-and-sphagnum moss filled netting covering the steel forms – hidden works of artisanship themselves – to carpet the skeletons in colorful patterns. Complex irrigation systems beneath the surface of the sculptures allow the plants to grow – and the creatures to flourish – in Atlanta’s summer heat. The larger than life sculptures are transported in climate-controlled trucks.
The exhibition of mosaiculture – the horticultural art of creating giant topiary-like sculptures using thousands of annual bedding plants to carpet steel armature forms – is the creative genius of International Mosaiculture of Montreal. The nonprofit group has staged wildly successful exhibitions of its work around the world, and the Atlanta showing will be the first major exhibition of its kind in the U.S.