The brains behind Amazon’s Spheres is a green thumb from Raleigh and NC State

After the unveiling of Amazon’s giant, rainforest-like conservatory on Monday morning, company CEO Jeff Bezos saluted the man behind “Spheres.”

“Congratulations,” Bezos told the company’s lead horticulturist, Ron Gagliardo, according to The Seattle Times. “The plants look happy.”

The plants weren’t the only ones happy over the opening of the four-story, glassy structure that is the centerpiece of Amazon’s corporate headquarters in Seattle.

Gagliardo grew up in the Triangle and studied botany at N.C. State University, according to his Facebook page. He also worked as a teen at Plant Delights, according to Tony Avent, owner of the southern Wake County nursery.

“It’s so great to see him getting so much recognition in his role as Amazon’s ‘green’ celebrity,” Avent wrote in a blog entry Tuesday.

Spheres – described by the Associated Press as “three connected glass orbs planted into the ground in a caterpillar shape” – is home to more than 40,000 plants from around the world, including a 50ish-foot fig tree as a centerpiece.

Amazon Spheres
Jeff Bezos, third from left, the CEO and founder of, takes a walking tour of the Amazon Spheres, three plant-filed geodesic domes that serve as a work- and gathering place for Amazon employees, following a grand opening ceremony, Monday, Jan. 29, 2018, in Seattle. Ted S. Warren AP

The three domes also feature streams, fish, chocolate plants and vanilla orchids, according to CBS News, designed to help reduce stress among employees.

“We want people to walk on this and go, ‘Oh, wait a minute, it’s moving. I better put my phone down,’” Gagliardo told CBS News.