garden art travel

The Atlanta Botanical Garden

A tour of a past Chihuly glass exhibit.

JLC_0643 2This post is for a Dale Chihuly glass exhibition at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens in 2016. This is how far behind I am in blog posts! I literally have dozens of potential posts of gardens I’ve visited in the past few years.

So here we are, three years later.

The last two years I’d been more focused on pitching, and then writing, Buffalo-Style Gardens with co-author Sally Cunningham. It was on the plane on this trip to Atlanta when she suggested we think about creating a book together.

Now the book is out and I’ve been going through my backlog of gardens and prospective posts and feel like there’s time to do more. We were in Atlanta for a GardenComm Conference (formerly named the GWA | The Association of Garden Communicators). We saw many wonderful private residential gardens. If I remember correctly, this was the first garden visit we made of the four or five we would see that day.

There’s no such thing as a bad Chihuly exhibition

This was only the second exhibition of his work I’ve seen and the first one in a botanical garden. The first was in a 1996 exhibition at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, walking distance from my house. His work was hitting art museums nationwide at the time, earlier in his career. His glass sculptures do stay with you, and they’re unmistakable.

His glass sculptures are a “natural” for gardens with their organic and fanciful shapes, the exaggerated flower colors, and the ability to mimic plant forms.

I’ve seen other, single, sculptures in other settings, in casinos, and an odd piece here and there in other botanical gardens. This was the first time I’ve ever seen them in multple settings and throughout the entire park.

For horticultural tourism, a Chihuly show is a home run.

Not many other exhibitions at botanical gardens and parks can pack in visitors like these exhibitions do. I’d love to know more about the costs of bringing in a show, what the planning is like, and what attendance and revenue results are.

A glass exhibition in my own garden.
Glass in my own garden

After that visit I vowed to add more glass to my own garden. I’ve nee collecting these glass flowers made from repurposed glassware made by a friend at Art Glass and More, on Etsy. She’s local in Buffalo (Orchard park, actually) but does ship within the U.S. I’ve been buying one or two each year from her for a few years.

Rather than blather, here are some of my favorite photos from that trip.

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Jim Charlier is an advertising designer/photographer/crafter with a serious gardening problem. He's co-written a garden design book featuring the funky, quirky and fun gardens by the gardeners of Buffalo titled "Buffalo-Style Gardens: Create a Quirky, One-of-a-Kind Private Garden with Eye-Catching Designs" (; he writes a long-standing garden blog (; led the largest garden tour in America, Garden Walk Buffalo; has written for, or provided photography for dozens of magazines and books; has made presentations and participated in panel discussions on garden design and garden tourism nationally and internationally.

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