Enjoyed from the forest floor and on the Kendeda Canopy Walk, Storza Woods constitutes 10 of the Garden's 30 acres. It is one of the few remaining secondary growth mature hardwood forests in the City of Atlanta.
The tulip poplars in Storza are the tallest trees in the forest. Tulip poplars are part of the first stage of forest succession and cannot grow under heavy shade. They bloom beginning in April with very showy flowers for a canopy tree. The flowers produce a large amount of nectar, making it an important tree for bees and other insect pollinators. They can live up to 200 years and are not found in older growth forests.
Another worthy tree is the Carolina silverbell (Helasia carolina). It has spectacular, bell-shaped flowers in the very early spring which appear on the tree before it fully leafs out. It is a native of the Southeastern United States.
Storza Woods comes alive with the first signs of springs as countless daffodils bloom in bright yellow, white and peach during the annual Atlanta Blooms! exhibition.
Overall, the planting design includes woodland shrubs, understory trees, larger trees (for canopy replacement and woodland succession), wildflowers, ferns, and many other herbaceous plants including bulbs. While native plants are emphasized more-so than in the Anne Cox Chambers Garden, it is important to note that Storza Woods is not a “native plant garden.” As is the case throughout the rest of the Atlanta Botanical Garden, aesthetically-pleasing native plants are used where they are horticulturally appropriate to site conditions, often in combination with non-native plantings.
In the 1870s, the Gentlemen’s Driving Club purchased Storza Woods from farmers who never developed the land. Before 2015, the area was managed as an urban woodland “natural area.” Invasive plants were removed and forest health was promoted, but little horticultural cultivation was conducted. In conjunction with the development of the Canopy Walk, phased woodland horticultural efforts began.
An endowment given by Eleanor Storza in memory of her husband Francis provides funding for maintenance of the woodland.