I stumbled upon Gibbs Gardens when I was planning my trip to Atlanta and truly it was one of the most wonderful discoveries. I was beyond amazed as there was something spectacular around EVERY corner of the gardens- pops of color, statuary, sculpture, water features, creeks, and millions and millions of flowers.
As I am writing this blog, I came to know that the daffodil Blooms in the Gibbs Garden is going to start in few days (late February 2021).
Gibbs Gardens is a hidden gem created by Jim Gibbs – retired president of one of Atlanta’s premier landscape companies and a founding member of the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. Mr. Gibbs searched the area for the ideal place to build his gardens and found some beautiful rolling property with water (streams and springs) near Ball Ground. It took 32 years for Mr. Gibbs to complete the garden and open it to the public.
What to expect?
The gardens spread over 220 acres of terrain that includes a manor house, making it one of the largest residential estate gardens in the country. Over the years, he has built 32 bridges, 24 ponds, 19 waterfalls, and 16 separate gardens to stroll through. Unique and interesting sculptures are also in the gardens. There is literally so much to explore and each of the 16 gardens is an “instagram” moment!
We can all visit the beautiful Gibbs Gardens and appreciate all the love and work that has gone into making this place spectacular. It takes around 3.5 to 4 hours to see everything. Check their website to see what is featured throughout the season and what is “in bloom” when you plan to visit.
Getting into the Gardens
Your first stop at Gibbs Gardens is the welcome center, where you’ll find rest rooms, a gift shop, ticketing area and a good map of the property. It is not unusual to see Mr. Gibbs here greeting visitors and explaining the layout of the gardens. A short walk from the welcome center is the Arbor Café, where you can pick up a snack or a delicious sandwich and drink at reasonable prices. A tranquil seating area outside the café allows guests to continue to experience the gardens as they eat.
This place is enormous, so you better put on your shoes because you are going to want to see all of it. So, Let’s get started.
Here are the top 5 thing not to miss when in Gibbs Garden.
1. Waterlily Gardens
The Waterlily Gardens offer color in spring, summer and fall, with lush terraces, waterfalls, sweeping lawns and woodland. Beneath the water lilies, you can spot fishes or even frog!!
There are five ponds in the waterlily garden showcasing over 140 varieties of waterlilies. Each of the five ponds in the Waterlily Gardens originates from the flow of underground springs. No artificial liners or concrete were needed for construction, creating the largest natural display of waterlilies in the nation.
Monet’s Garden at Giverny in Paris delighted Mr. Gibbs and one can spot the replica in the waterlily gardens too. The bridge on the left in picture with its rolled steel beams, rails, and arbor, was measured and reproduced with the same radius as Monet’s garden famous bridge.
One of the interesting fact is that Monet has created over 2,500 paintings, drawings and pastels of the Bridge.
An island was built to support the bridge for its proper span. Monet’s choice of color was incorporated.
The Waterlilies begin to bloom mid May until November. Japanese Maples and thousands of daffodils provide additional seasonal interest in the Waterlily Garden.
2. Manor House Gardens
The Manor House is one of my favorite part of the property. The architecture looks like it came straight out of Europe like the fireplace, glass doors, and windows.
The Manor House itself is where Mr. and Mrs. Gibbs live, but they invite visitors to kick off their shoes and walk in the grass, enjoy a lounge chair by the pool, and have fun exploring the gardens around the house.
The swimming pool, right next to the Manor House, is beyond splendid. There are multiple water features, lots of seatings and interesting sculptures placed around. Visitors are invited to spend as much time around the pool as they like, but swimming is not allowed.
3. Japanese Maple Garden
You can found around 3000 Japanese maple trees and 200 varieties at Gibbs Gardens and Every year Jim Gibbs adds more to the collection. These ornamental trees display beautiful foliage in the spring, summer and fall.
Visitors enter the garden through a Torri gate, a gate with two overhead cross bars. You’ll find spring-fed ponds, islands, bridges and 40 handcrafted Japanese lanterns. The Japanese maples provide the most gorgeous fall colors.
4. Sculptures at Gibbs Garden
Go see the grandkids! The 11 grandchildren of Gardens founders Jim and Sally Jim Gibbs are represented in sculpture form near the Japanese Gardens. You will see sculptures playing, fishing, playing an instrument – and some of them cast reflections in the water.
5. Come for the events
There are so many great fall festivals running in October and November. During Japanese Maples Colorfest in November, more than 2,000 Japanese Maples are covered in fall color and this is our absolute favorite time to visit Gibbs. In the fall, there is also a live music series where you can enjoy food and music in the most beautiful setting. During late February and March, you can see daffodils bloom which looks straight out of a heaven. The same scene is featured in the Miracles of Heaven movie.
- It takes around 3.5 to 4 hours to see everything. Check their web site below to see what is featured throughout the season and what is “in bloom” when you plan to visit.
- Don’t bring food or drink onto the property except for bottled water. Since you might get hungry while on the property you can purchase food at the Arbor Cafe.
- Tickets are $20 plus tax for a full day at the gardens and parking is free. Due to pandemic situation, they are only allowing online ticketing these days. You can book your tickets here.
- It is located at 1987 Gibbs Drive, Ball Ground, GA 30107 and is open from 9:00 a.m to 4:00 p.m.
- Visit their website to check the seasonal events and blooms
- You can refer the map of the property in advance to plan it even better
I hope you have enjoyed our walk in Gibbs Gardens.I must say that spending a day in these beautiful gardens will lift your spirits. Also as the Daffodil blooms season is near, do not forget to plan a trip to this amazing gardens.
Would love to know your favorite time of year to visit Gibbs and what you love most about visiting. Please share in the comments below!
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