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GA – Atlanta Botanical Garden

The Rare and Unusual Southern Conifer Garden at the Atlanta Botanical Garden was originally planted in 1994 and consisted of two beds located immediately in front of the conservatory. An additional two beds were added in 1998. Several people were instrumental in the planning and planting of this garden – Ron Determann, Director of the Fuqua Conservatory; Mildred Pinnell Fockele, Director of Horticulture; and renowned horticulturalist Ozzie Johnson. All had been collecting plants for many years and wanted a garden in which to display them. Many of the original plants were from the JC Raulston Arboretum and many were from plant collection trips made from around the globe and especially Asia. One of the primary goals of the conifer collection is evaluation of plants for their suitability for use in landscapes here in the Southeast.

The Atlanta Botanical Garden also has a large number of tropical conifers in their conservatory including conifers Ron Determann has obtained from New Caledonia where all of the 43 conifer species are endemic and many are threatened at this time.

ABG is also leading the way in the conservation of one of the Southeastern native conifers – Torreya taxifolia, the stinking cedar, which has been decimated by habitat loss and a fungal disease. ABG’s staff is working with several conservation groups to reestablish populations outside of their normal range where it is hoped they will not be susceptible to the fungus.

ABG’s conifer collection currently exceeds over 700 specimens.

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