This Garden is “Groundbreaking”
Sometimes pictures should do the talking, so take a few moments to reflect on the images of Gibbs Gardens, in Ballground Georgia.
Gibbs garden, one of the nation’s largest residential estate gardens, is owned by Jim Gibbs who spent years searching for the perfect site to host a garden. It needed to have a reliable water source, lovely mature trees, rolling hills and he found just that in Ballground, Georgia. Snuggled in the foothills of the North Georgia mountains the lush foliage made it the ideal spot. Flowing through the middle, a stream stumbles and glides lazily. It is here that visitors to Gibbs Gardens have a spacious 260 acres to explore. There are 24 ponds, 32 bridges, 19 water elements and 16 gardens!
Natural springs provide a constant water source and are surrounded by millions of naturalized ferns making it one of the largest ferneries in the nation. Native azaleas, dogwoods, and mountain laurels also provide seasonal interest.
The Manor House Gardens:
The manor house where the Gibbs family still reside is especially beautiful in the spring. It is a short walk along the rhododendron-filled path. As you approach you see several tiers of landscape cascading down and filled with annual blooms. A terrace with an arbor beckons you as you loop around the garden until you are directly beneath its vine laden wooden beams. It is here that you are surrounded by over 1,000 roses. The manor itself sits among millions of flowers where bees come to pollinate and to nom on the sweet nectar. There are several pools with water elements and you can glimpse the North Georgia mountains peeking through the trees.
The Japanese garden is over 40 acres making it the largest Japanese garden in the nation. There are seven spring-fed ponds with islands, bridges, and large natural stones where you can sit a moment and take in the view. Japanese maples, massive 50-year-old bonsai, weeping willows and cherry trees mirror in the water. Pagodas sit-in along the paths that are lit by Japanese lanterns. Cross the zigzag bridge to rid yourself evil spirits.
THE MYTH: Some claim that evil spirits can only travel in straight lines and that Japanese gardens have zig-zag bridges to prevent evil spirits from moving through them.
Monet Waterlily Gardens:
While traveling, Jim Gibbs visited Monet’s Garden outside of Paris. Its beauty pleased Mr. Gibbs who decided to recreate the image here in his own gardens, adding his own variations and touches.
The bridge and trees cast dramatic reflections upon the water throughout the day and it is a serene portrait of natural landscape. As a matter of fact, neither artificial liners or concrete were used in the construction as each of the 5 ponds which originate from the flow of underground springs. Thus creating the largest natural display of waterlilies in the nation, showcasing the waterlilies, weeping willows, daffodils, and wisteria.
While the waterlilies are in bloom from May through November, I like visiting in the fall when the Japanese maples are turning the bright orange and red and reflect upon the tranquil water, however, the wisteria growing on the arbor of the bridge is in bloom in the spring.
Crape Myrtle Garden
During July and August, over 500 crape myrtle trees bloom throughout Gibbs Gardens. Be sure to see the sculptures of the Gibbs’ 11 grandchildren depicting each of their personalities displayed in the gardens.
In the spring Gibbs Gardens dons a shade of canary yellow as the daffodils buds begin to open. That isn’t the only color you will see though, there are over 100 different varieties in shades of orange, gold, pink, white and cream. 20 million flowers invite you to meander along paths for an overwhelming display of spring. And you guessed it: This is the largest Daffodil display in the nation!
So are you ready to visit Gibbs Gardens yet? If so check them out by visiting their website for more information. For more photos visit Wanderluster.blog on Facebook.
Keep the Lust for Wandering, Y’all
Fran and “Mama” Ruth