Creating a wildlife haven one plant at a time

Friday, May 4, 2012

Georgia's Secret Garden

This past week the Master Gardener group I am affiliated with went on a field trip to Georgia's 'secret garden'. The brochure describes the garden as 'the artistry of superior landscape design melds with the perfection of nature to create a garden experience like no other'.

Gibbs Gardens began as a 300 acre family estate in 1980. Over the past 30 years Jim Gibbs, founder of a landscape design firm in Atlanta, realized his vision as he designed and developed 220 acres of landscaped gardens along spring fed streams, ponds and lakes surrounded by hillsides covered with mature woodlands. The gardens opened to the public this year.


There are 16 gardens which provide seasons of color. Beginning in March with daffodils and ending in November with fall color. The gardens claim there are over 3 million bulbs that have been planted on 50 acres of hills and dales. I must return next year to take a look. The daffodil show is followed by cherry blossoms, dogwoods, azaleas, rhododendrons, roses, hydrangeas, waterlilies, daylilies, crape myrtles and wildflowers finishing out the year with a show of fall color.


The waterlily garden begins its show in May and goes on through November. It features 140 varieties of waterlilies making it one of the largest natural displays in the nation.



The Monet Bridge is an exact replica from his garden in Giverny, France. It is veiled in white (native) wisteria blooms.


The Japanese garden covers more than 40 acres with seven spring fed ponds making it the largest Japanese Gardens in the nation.


There were several different owl sculptures throughout the Japanese garden which I just feel in love with.



I was mesmerized by these irises that were found all around the ponds. Are they not the most amazing purple?


I have never seen so many maple trees in one setting. They are truly spectacular. The branching structures of these trees is exquisite and the rocks, boulders and water provide the ideal setting to show them off. A trip in the autumn when the leaves are changing color is on the bucket list.



In the woodland garden the rhododendrons were at their peak and absolutely spectacular.







The mountain laurel were also stunning. A flowering plant in the blueberry family they do well in our acidic soil. They bloom from May to June and are native to the Eastern United States. I love this hot pink one!



The hydrangea were just starting to come into bloom. The blues were really striking with the dappled light through the tree top canopy.



Around the manor house are more gardens and spectacular views of the grounds. I especially liked all the ferns in the woodland settings. I will save these for another post later in the year. This is a great place to visit if you are looking for some inspiration for mass plantings and plant combinations.

21 comments:

  1. The rhododendron and hydrangea make me homesick for the South. I usually go to New Orleans at this time and haven't planned a trip.

    The Japanese garden photo looks like a painting.

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  2. Beautiful gardens, although they need to do some cleaning on that pond but what a great place to visit.

    Cher Sunray Gardens

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  3. Beautiful! I wish I could grown the mountain laurel! I did put three hydrangea in my front yard...no blooms yet. What a fun field trip for you! xo!

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  4. A fantastic gift to your area. And it looks like a labor of love.

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  5. Wow, what a great place to visit! I've never seen such a bright flowering mountain laurel. I would especially love to see the Japanese gardens!

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  6. Looks like a great day out and a lovely garden to visit. You captured some really super photos like the water lilies. I always enjoy garden outings for new inspiration.

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  7. It looks like you had a wonderful visit. Are you planning on redesigning your garden soon?

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    1. Bom, our garden is still in the development stage, only 3 years old. We have an area on the side of the house that we are planning now. I am always looking for inspiration...plant combinations, etc. I will try to remember to post before and after photos of the side garden when it is complete.

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  8. Nice! What a great opportunity for you! the Water Lilies are so pretty!

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  9. How wonderful to have such a nice spot open up near you. Places like this are so wonderful to visit all year round and I find them a great source of inspiration.

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  10. What a stunning number of garden areas...each as beautiful as the next.

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  11. I wish I'd been there! What an incredible place! I spent a few days in northern GA a few years ago and just fell in love with the area. So beautiful! I can only imagine how stunning it is in the fall.

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  12. Your MG group looks pretty big if in the image they are shown. Our group is rather small. This is such a pretty garden and it is wonderful they opened to the public. I agree that Georgia is easy to fall in love with. I was there and felt easily at home. I think all the beauty in the state makes the people extra nice and abundantly happy. The people are what I remember most.

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    1. Donna, my MG group has around 200 members. We can take up to 25 interns a year (limited because of classroom size) and many years we have a waiting list. It is a great group and we are involved in a lot of community projects. For the past three years we have logged the most hours in the State. :)

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  13. Hi Karin, I am thinking about becoming a master gardener and I sure hope my group goes on outings to pretty places like this one. I agree that the purple iris is intensely and beautifully purple. Love the Mountain laurel!
    P.S. I scrolled back through the last couple of posts and I have never seen chickadee eggs or young before. Great shots!

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    1. Jennifer, this is a first for me too. I am so excited to watch the birds. I peak in on them everyday when the mother is out looking for food.

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  14. I could get lost in a place like that for a week or more ! Absolutely gorgeous - a life's labor of love. I especially liked that Monet bridge shot, but all your shots are well done.

    Thanks for your last post on 'The Blob' - I found similar 'blobs' in the (mulched) beds in Florida - they were yellow - and I thought too that a dog or other animal had 'lost its cookies'. Now I know.

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  15. This post is just bursting with beauty!!! Wow! I especially LOVE that Iris!

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  16. Karin, thanks for commenting on my lazy post. In regards to your question about the feather grass. I would say i probably would be a little aggressive there. You might contact some Houston bloggers as they probably have close to the same climate as yours and see if they run into problems with the seed.I know I comb the grass to remove a lot of the seed in early summer. My biggest seed problems are tree sprouts, elm, hackberry, redbud, walnut and oak. The squirrels don't help!

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  17. Beautiful place to visit..why I am always partial to Japanese gardens I don't know..Michelle

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  18. Karin I have never been to this beautiful garden but I think I need to plan a trip that a way..
    Your pictures are beautiful love the owls..
    hugs, Cherry

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"Don't wait for someone to bring you flowers. Plant your own garden and decorate your soul"

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