Replacement of Piedmont Park’s Beloved Climbing Magnolia

The Vasser Woolley Foundation donates $20,000 for tree and care

In spring of last year, Piedmont Park was highlighted in the AJC for being home to the most recognizable and most photographed tree in Atlanta – the “Climbing Magnolia.” If you grew up in Atlanta, or are a frequent park visitor, chances are you have either climbed on this tree yourself or taken a picture in front it. Its sweeping limbs made the perfect perch for that keepsake photo or unique vantage point of Atlanta’s historic park.

But in July 2016, the Climbing Magnolia sadly toppled over succumbing to a column of rot that had weakened its core. Based on its rings, many believe the magnolia dates back to the Cotton States Exhibition in 1895 -an important milestone in Atlanta’s history.

Fortunately, a 20’ magnolia, with a 70” root ball, weighing over 8,000 lbs has been successfully installed in Piedmont Park. The Piedmont Park Conservancy extends great appreciation to the Vasser Woolley Foundation for donating $20,000 towards the replacement, installation and ongoing care of this iconic Atlanta landmark. The Conservancy looks forward to the many years ahead of the new Magnolia.

Moments before the new Magnolia Tree is planted.

Jennifer Rudder places her hand on the 70″ root ball.

Piedmont Park Conservancy staff members Krystal Collier, Amy Han Dietrich, Jennifer Rudder and Terrell Henderson posing by the new magnolia tree.

Piedmont Park Greenhouse Open for Education Programs

On Tuesday morning, the Piedmont Park Conservancy celebrated the opening of a new greenhouse which was generously donated by Wells Fargo. Guests were welcomed with fresh mint-infused lemonade, cucumber water and fresh pastries. The weather was refreshingly cool for a June morning, and the clouds provided a nice blanket of shade. The greenhouse stands adjacent to the Conservancy maintenance shop, and faces out to the Piedmont Commons area. The soft sounds of ventilation fans could be heard, releasing the hot air from within the clear structure.

Representatives from Wells Fargo were welcomed with a recognition decal placed on the opening of the greenhouse. Because of a generous donation from the Northwood Garden Club, attendees were able to peruse the greenhouse which already had its first generation of plantings including peppers, squash and cherry tomatoes, and newly bought equipment to enable the house to flourish.

Mark Banta, President and CEO of the the Piedmont Park Conservancy, welcomed guests and exclaimed that the Conservancy was very excited to obtain this long-desired wish list item. Banta extended appreciation to Wells Fargo’s Kris Christy for partnering with the organization to make this dream possible, and to Chris McDaid for his dedication to the Conservancy and this project. Banta followed up with a thoughtful commentary about the Northwood Garden Club and their continuous support for our horticultural projects, and especially recognizing Esther Stokes for her involvement with the organization.

Then, Mary Yetter, Green Market Manager and the cultivator of Piedmont Park’s gardens, explained that this greenhouse will be crucial to meeting the Conservancy’s future goals of environmental education. From the vast amount of field trips that happen in the park to the EnviroVentures Summer Camp youth, the greenhouse would allow year-round exposure to gardening education. Additionally, the greenhouse opens the potential for future plant sales and member engagement.

The event closed with a ribbon cutting, with a long yellow strand creating a vibrant photo opportunity with the dedication’s special guests. Wells Fargo and the Northwood Garden Club received promising seedlings of tomato plants in soft blue pots as gifts of gratitude.

Appreciation goes to Wells Fargo and the Northwood Garden Club for making this opportunity possible for the Piedmont Park Conservancy. We are excited to give our readers an update on the greenhouse’s progress in the coming months.

Wells Fargo’s Kris Christy and Chris McDaid


Northwood Garden Club’s Linda Copeland and Esther Stokes

The dedication was at 10am on Tuesday, June 6. The greenhouse is only accessible by Piedmont Park Conservancy staff. Greenhouse visitation will be infused into various programming. If you have questions about the greenhouse, please email

Greystar Donates $25,000 to Piedmont Park Conservancy

Announcement of New Preserver Sponsor

We are pleased to announce that Greystar and their valued clients in Atlanta have joined together to donate $25,000 to Piedmont Park Conservancy. The Piedmont Park Conservancy is a member and donor funded nonprofit working in partnership with the City of Atlanta to maintain and enhance historic Piedmont Park.

“Sponsors like Greystar are vital to the $3 million of funding needed every year to provide maintenance and services for the park,” said Mark Banta, President & CEO of the Piedmont Park Conservancy. “From beautification and repairing amenities to managing the Active Oval and hosting thousands of youth in environmental programs, the Conservancy can continue to grow with this new sponsorship.”

The Conservancy is responsible for 60% of the support required to operate the park and its programs and oversees 90% of its daily maintenance. The Conservancy relies on philanthropic donations and does not receive funding from festivals or events permitted in the Park.

“We are proud to work together with our clients to support the work of Piedmont Park Conservancy,” said Lisa Taylor, Senior Managing Director of Real Estate for Greystar.  “The efforts of the Conservancy will ensure Piedmont Park remains a vital, urban green space that enhances the quality of life for all Atlantans.”


About Greystar Real Estate Partners

Greystar is a leading, fully integrated real estate company offering expertise in investment management, development and property management of rental housing properties globally.  Headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina with offices throughout the United States, Europe, and Latin America, Greystar is the largest operator of apartments in the United States, managing over 400,000 units in over 150 markets globally.  Greystar also has a robust institutional investment management platform dedicated to managing capital on behalf of a global network of institutional investors with nearly $16 billion in gross assets under management including more than $7 billion of developments that have been sold or are underway.  Greystar was founded by Bob Faith in 1993 with the intent to become a provider of world class service in the rental housing real estate business. To learn more about Greystar, visit


Waterfall Foundation donates $100,000 to Piedmont Park Conservancy

The Piedmont Park Conservancy is delighted to receive a $100,000 grant from the Waterfall Foundation to improve and repair the Park’s water fountains. Due to heavy park use, the water fountains are in frequent need of repair and it is one of most common complaints from park visitors.  The grant will allow the Conservancy to replace the internal supply and drainage system for all 27 drinking fountains throughout the park. The project is scheduled to begin in April and is estimated to take four weeks to complete. More information to follow.

A big thank you to the Waterfall Foundation for this generous contribution to enhance the Piedmont Park experience.