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GIBBS GARDENS: HAVE YOU HEARD OF THIS BREATHTAKING BALL GROUND SECRET?

365 Atlanta Traveler logo: MainLogo 365 Atlanta Traveler 9/23/2022 365 Atlanta Traveler

Gibbs Gardens, located in Ball Ground, Ga, includes 220 acres of breathtaking gardens set in mature rolling woodlands dotted with 24 ponds,19 waterfalls, and myriad springs and streams with 32 bridge crossings. It’s also the country’s largest residential estate garden…and it is GORGEOUS!

Gibbs Garden in Georgia is worth the visit, and we’ll tell you why below. Native azaleas, dogwoods, daffodils, and mountain laurels provide additional seasonal interest.

Photo courtesy of Gibbs Gardens © Provided by 365 Atlanta Traveler Photo courtesy of Gibbs Gardens

Here are 14 reasons why we love Gibbs Gardens and make a point to visit as often as possible. In the mountains of North Georgia, there is a World-Class destination garden just waiting to be discovered. Gibbs Gardens is a place of beauty near Atlanta with ponds, streams, waterfalls, a botanical garden, a waterlily garden, and feature gardens that change with the seasons! It’s truly a place of beauty.

Keep an eye on the Gibbs Gardens Facebook page or website for dates to all the events mentioned here – they change yearly to match the bloom times.

Note: All events for 2022 have been postponed. Check back for 2023 events. But the garden is still open!

MANOR HOUSE GARDENS

Cascading layers of garden rooms and woodland embrace the home. Garden rooms flow from each side of the house and enlarge the lifestyle of the home.

An iron gate near the front door beckons you along a path beside the house that winds gently to the top of the Manor House Gardens overlooking the house and the North Georgia mountains. The path descends to the guesthouse where sounds of waterfalls lure you to a beautiful pool with colorful plantings. Latticed arches, including an arched opening to the right of the front door invite you to the stone terrace off the kitchen, dining and living rooms. This verandah is the heart of the house, garden and land.

Gardens, terraces, lawns, undisturbed woodland, North Georgia mountain vistas and sky are seen from here. The intrigue of Manor House Gardens begins with this view.

SPRINGTIME DAFFODIL COLORFEST

Generally held each spring, warm temperatures bring to life over 20 Million blooms, representing over 200 varieties, covering 50+ acres of the property.  Like liquid sunshine, myriad daffodils blanket rolling hillsides and fields, flow along streams and border woodlands, creating a panorama of blossoms, ranging in color from primrose-yellow to yellow, saffron, gold, orange, blush pink, white and cream.  Each year since 1987, Jim Gibbs has added new varieties while existing plantings of daffodils continue to multiply and divide.  There are now 1000’s of cultivars to view, including early, mid and late blooming types. It’s claimed the Largest Daffodil Garden in the Nation!

Southern Living magazine calls Gibbs Gardens’ Daffodil Gardens, “the most spectacular display of blooms this side of Holland . . . the most stunning daffodil gardens ever!”

ARTS ON THE GREAT LAWN

Arts on the Great Lawn generally occurs in mid-spring and is a great time to “test” the gardens for membership because inexpensive admission this weekend gets you full access to the Gardens and the Arts and Crafts Show. Bring the kids, too, for face painting (nominal fee), great food, and more. Oh! And usually, the weekend before this is a super Mother’s Day garden celebration, too, with boxed brunches and live music!

SNAKES, TURTLES, AND LIZARDS…OH MY!

Kids will love this exploration into the interesting world of snakes, turtles, lizards and more.  The instructors talk about the role of these creatures in the animal kingdom and enlighten us about the difference between venomous and non-venomous.  Attendees will have the opportunity to see these animals up close and touch or even hold them if desired.

MONET WATERLILY FESTIVAL

As the temps drop, enjoy hundreds of tropical and exotic waterlilies in an array that would make even Monet swoon. While you’re there, be sure to stop at the Arts & Crafts Show, where local artists are selling their original works. Besides dining at the cafe, there will also be French-inspired cuisine to complete your waterlily experience.

FALL FESTIVAL

Just after wrapping up the Waterlily Festival, you can kick off fall with live music, food, flower and lots of fun! You can hear bands on the Great Lawn or stroll the trails with accordion players and such.

JAPANESE MAPLES COLORFEST

Personally, I am a sucker for Japanese Maples and their warm hues. Head to Gibbs to see over 2000 gorgeous trees ablaze with fall colors. Like other festivals here, you’ll be greeted with live music, delicious food and a few fun surprises.

TWILIGHT MUSIC IN THE GARDENS

On various weekends throughout the year, you can enjoy live music just as the sun sets. Listen in the Great Lawn with a pre-ordered box dinner, or purchase food when you’re there (wine and beer too!) and listen as you stroll the gardens.

PLANTS SALE

Whether you’re a gardener at heart or you just want to dabble, plant sales are GREAT places to pick up new items for your pots and beds. They are affordable, and they are usually zone-approved (since they are probably cuttings, or rootings, etc, from the garden) and more likely to do well in your own yard. It’s also an affordable way to get the kids involved; let them pick out some plants and make their own unique garden!

EDUCATIONAL FUN

Gibbs offers great book lectures and signing, classes and a great series from one of my favorite Georgia gardeners, and free Monthly garden talks. During the spring and summer, you can even take classes on managing your own beehives (that is totally a dream of mine!).

AFFORDABLE MEMBERSHIP AND FREE EVENTS

Memberships with the gardens are very affordable, especially at only $50 per year for adults and $30 for children. At the very least, you’ll want to visit each season, which equates to less than $13 per ticket for 3+ hours of fun. Admission to the gardens includes admittance to all events, twilight music and festivals, too, which is pretty spectacular.  Parking is free….it’s just a great place to take the kids when they need to explore, or take visiting guests for something unique and special.

THE FISH POOL

The Fish Pool up near the Manor House is not something “featured” at Gibbs Gardens, but it is a place my kids adore. I love to head that way in summer because it’s toward the hydrangeas (my favorite plant by a landslide.) The kids don’t mind because they like walking under the rose arbor to The Fish Pool, and spending time in the shade admiring the koi. There’s even a little platform area for grabbing a drink of water and resting for a bit.

JAPANESE GARDENS

If you’ve been reading the blog for a while then you know I grew up in Japan, and possess a love-affair with the culture. Maybe that’s why the Japanese Gardens are my favorite place in the entire landscape. It’s a 40-acre glory to behold, and is in fact the largest Japanese Garden in the U.S. You’ll find 50+ yr old bonsai, cherry trees, weeping willows kissing the pond, a pagoda, bridges, stones…so many wonderful peaceful vignettes on which to rest your eyes.

ARBOR CAFE

Here you’ll find delicious sandwiches, salads and desserts. It is open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.  The kids will love the giant chocolate chip cookies. I also appreciate the outdoor seating so that my kiddos can venture and explore while I finish my hot tea.

RIDE THE TRAM

Note: The tram is closed until further notice due to COVID.

The Tram operates daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with regular trips to the Japanese Gardens and the Daffodil Gardens. An all-day tram pass is only $5.00 per person, plus tax, which allows the visitor unlimited access to both trams during the day of their visit.

MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR GARDEN VISIT

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Daniel Peterson

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