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 Gardens in Ball Ground, GA, is the brainchild of Jim Gibbs, the retired president and founder of Gibbs Landscaping Company. Gibbs traveled for years researching gardens before beginning to build his dream. The property is 376 acres and the house and gardens include 300+acres, making it one of the nation’s largest residential estate gardens.
At Gibbs Gardens you’ll find 20 gardens along with forests, ponds, streams, waterfalls, and more. There is so much to see and admire here…most visits take about 4 hours.
MANOR HOUSE GARDENS
Allow 1 ½ hours to enjoy seasonal floral displays at the Manor House Gardens, such as the Daffodil, Azalea, Rhododendron and Hydrangea Gardens, the Rose Arbor, the Woodland Shade Gardens and Nature Canopy Walk.
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.
Allow 1 ½ hours to tour the display gardens of the Japanese Gardens, Monet Waterlily Gardens, Grandchildren’s Sculpture Gardens, Rose Gardens, The Fern Dell, The Pleasance and Daylily Gardens.
The Waterlily Gardens are my favorites!
SPRINGTIME DAFFODIL COLORFEST
Warm temperatures bring to life over 20 million daffodil blooms representing over 200 varieties, and covering 50+ acres of the property each spring, for what Gibbs Gardens calls their Springtime Daffodil Colorfest. Like liquid sunshine, myriad daffodils blanket rolling hillsides and fields. It’s stunning!
Southern Living magazine calls Gibbs Gardens’ Daffodil Gardens, “The most spectacular display of blooms this side of Holland . . . the most stunning daffodil gardens ever!”
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
- YOUR GEORGIA VACATION
- MORE ATLANTA ADVENTURES: 53+ Things to do in Atlanta
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