The Perfect Day Trip to Gibbs Gardens in Georgia

Gibbs Gardens in Georgia is one of my favorite gardens to visit every year. Every time I go, the gardens are different, with new blooms emerging every season. It’s the perfect day trip to walk around the property and see all the vibrant colors while taking many photos.

Whenever I visit, I never fail to take at least two rolls of film to capture the incredible beauty. The gardens have countless flowers, small waterfalls, bridges, gazebos, streams, and a gorgeous manor house. It is undoubtedly one of the best gems in North Georgia, and it’s not too far from Atlanta and the surrounding Metro area.

To help you plan your visit to Gibbs Gardens, I’ve put together this guide that provides location details, tips, and information about what to expect. For those who love wildflowers and experimental photography, don’t forget to check out my article on Gibbs Gardens’ cosmos wildflowers here

numerous pink wildflowers at  Gibbs Gardens in North Georgia
The wildflowers are abundant in fall.
A gazebo by a pond. Flowers are in the foreground.
The gazebo with the pond is one of my favorite photography spots at Gibbs Gardens.

The Location of Gibbs Gardens in North Georgia

Gibbs Gardens is near the North Georgia mountains in Ball Ground, which is part of Cherokee County. To get to the entrance, plug in the GPS address, and it will take you right there:

1987 Gibbs Drive, Ball Ground, GA 30107

You can also find Gibbs Gardens on a map here:

If you arrive from Interstate 575, you will likely pass through downtown Ball Ground. Stop at this quaint little town if you have some free time. There are a few options for shopping and dining. Additionally, you can visit the new brewery, Rock Solid, and enjoy some drinks. If you are a coffee lover, don’t forget to try some delicious barrel-aged coffee at Barrel House Coffee Company. For more information about Ball Ground, click here

Once you drive through downtown Ball Ground, Gibbs Gardens is approximately 14 minutes away. It is a short, beautiful drive, taking you through farmlands and green pastures with horses. It is always tempting to stop and take a bunch of pictures!

One of the gardens at Gibbs Gardens with a pond and trees around it.
The Japanese Gardens at Gibbs.
A butterfly sits on a pink flower
Many monarch butterflies will migrate to the wildflower meadows in the fall.

Brief History of the Gardens

Jim Gibbs is the owner of Gibbs Gardens and founder of Gibbs Landscape Company. If you take a drive around Metro Atlanta, you might spot their landscaping trucks.

Jim comes from a family of gardeners and started planting in Gibbs Gardens in 1980. After three decades of hard work and dedication, Gibbs Gardens finally opened its doors to the public! I can only imagine and appreciate the immense amount of effort, time, and passion it took to create something as marvelous as Gibbs Gardens.

Today, Jim’s Manor House, built in a European style, can be found at Gibbs Gardens, making it the largest residential garden in the United States. Jim Gibbs is also a founding member of the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, another must-visit attraction in Atlanta.

The Manor House at Gibbs Gardens.
The Manor House at Gibbs Gardens belongs to Jim Gibbs and his family. You can walk around it, but you cannot go inside.

When Should You Visit

Operating Hours

Gibbs Gardens’ operating hours vary throughout the year. They are usually open from March (sometimes late February) until December. However, they are closed on certain holidays and days of the week, depending on the month. To find more information on their hours, visit their website, as these can change frequently.

March 1 is the anticipated opening date for 2024. 

They are closed most of the winter, which is slightly disappointing as I would love to see snow on the grounds and take photos. Despite that, Gibbs Gardens is lovely in any season, but the late winter (when they first open), mid-spring, and early to mid-fall (at peak fall foliage) are the best times to go. 

Read below for more information on each season. 

Visiting tip: For daily updates on fall colors and daffodil reports, check their social media or sign up for their newsletter. They also have a “What’s in Bloom” section on their website here

Daffodils, Fall Colors, and Summer Roses

Spring

Gibbs Gardens is famous for its daffodils. Millions bloom each March and April, and the gardens are home to many varieties. If you visit in the first two weeks of March, you’ll see the early bloomers. And if you come back later, you can enjoy the mid and late-bloomers, which usually appear from late March through early to mid-April.

Depending on the weather and growing conditions, they can bloom early in late February. Of course, this timeline is subject to Mother Nature.

Other blooms you will see during spring are tulips, cherry blossoms, azaleas, dogwoods, and roses.

Fall

We also love to visit in the fall for the fall foliage. The fall colors in the Japanese Gardens are spectacular, with the Japanese maples’ vibrant red, orange, and yellow leaves. The reflection of the trees in the ponds adds even more color to the already picturesque scenery. For the best fall foliage experience, plan a visit in October (usually around mid-October). 

Do you love wildflowers? If so, don’t miss their Wildflowers Colorfest in early fall. You can stand on the edge of seemingly endless fields full of pink and yellow wildflowers. These usually bloom starting in September through early November. 

Summer

Summer is also a great time to visit the gardens because it is less crowded than spring and fall. Although it can be hot and humid, many paths are shaded, so it’s not too bad. There are still plenty of flowers, especially roses, water lilies, daylilies, and crape myrtles.

Two women walking near a field of daffodils.
Walk in a field of daffodils! Courtesy Bill Manning Photography.
Fall time at Gibbs Gardens.
Fall is beautiful at Gibbs Gardens.
A pink water lily in a pond.
A water lily opening for the day.

Know Before You Go: Parking, Admission, and Visiting Tips

Parking

Parking is free of charge at Gibbs Gardens. There are various parking sections, but staff will guide you to the appropriate spot. If you visit during peak times, you may need to park further away from the primary entrance.

You can’t have a picnic inside the gardens, but picnic tables are near parking lot #3.

Purchasing Tickets or Membership Passes 

It is highly advisable to buy tickets in advance through their website. Though you can purchase tickets in person, there may be long queues, especially during the peak spring and fall seasons. When purchasing tickets online, you can either print them or have them scanned from your phone or tablet at the entrance. 

Visit their website for information on ticket and membership prices.

The ticket costs for the year 2024 are as follows:

  •  $25 per adult
  •  $18 for ages 65+
  •  $10 for a child’s ticket ages 3-17 
  • Children 3 and under get in free 

I suggest buying a membership if you plan to visit multiple times a year. The membership card gives you unlimited visits 365 days from the date of purchase and free admission to their Saturday evening concerts in May and June. 

While memberships can be slightly expensive ($60 for adults and $30 for children), there is usually a promotion every December and January where you can buy one membership and get one free. This promotion allows us to acquire two passes for only $60, which is pretty good! They usually email you about membership deals around this timeframe if you subscribe to their newsletter.

Remember to bring your membership card so they can scan it at the entrance. Find other membership benefits listed here.

Visiting Tips

You’ll want to allocate at least 3-4 hours to visit the property, and make sure to wear comfortable shoes as you will probably do a lot of walking. Previously, there used to be a tram service available to take visitors around the gardens, but unfortunately, it has been permanently discontinued.

They do not provide golf carts, wheelchairs, or scooters. Read more about accessibility here

You can only take water inside the gardens as they do not allow outside food and drinks. However, you can purchase items from their Arbor Cafe if you feel hungry or thirsty. The cafe offers a decent selection of salads, sandwiches, hot dogs, and small snacks. Unfortunately, they no longer serve the best lemonade I’ve ever had, which makes me feel bummed whenever I think about it. 

A garden gift shop near the entrance also sells seeds, pots, and other garden and home goods. It’s small but cute, and I always stop to browse. 

Can you bring your dog? Nope, unless it is a service dog. For more information on service dogs and what you can and cannot bring, visit their page here

If you’re lucky, you might spot one of the garden cats hanging around the manor house or the garden entrance. Of course, I always take several photos when I see them! 

Yellow leaves in the fall.
Fall at Gibbs. Courtesy Bill Manning Photography.
The Arbor Cafe at Gibbs Gardens.
You can grab a yummy sandwich, snacks, and drinks at the Arbor Cafe.
A cat next to flowers.
The garden cat. Courtesy Bill Manning Photography.

A Glance Inside the Gardens

The gardens are enormous – over 300 acres! I often contemplate buying a membership pass so that I can do some exercising while taking in the breathtaking views here. Maps are available both online and at the entrance.

Although I love all the gardens, my favorites are the Japanese and Manor House Gardens. If you visit during spring, you’ll find daffodils scattered throughout the entire property. However, the most beautiful daffodil gardens are on the hillscape, with the North Georgia mountains providing a spectacular backdrop.

The trek to reach the Manor House is uphill, but it’s definitely worth it because you’ll enjoy the best mountain views. Although you cannot enter the manor house, you can stroll around the gardens, the pool, and the guest house. It’s difficult to resist the temptation of dipping your toes in the pool in summer!

The Japanese Gardens at Gibbs Gardens.
The Japanese Garden at Gibbs Gardens.
Two daffodils.
Many daffodil varieties bloom at different times in late winter and spring.
A pathway lined with tulips and a wooden trellis.
Pathway leading up to the Manor House.
The pool at the Manor House.
You can sit and relax around the pool at the Manor House.

Another favorite spot of mine is the water lily ponds near the entrance. Dragonflies love to hang out in this area, making macro photography fun. And it’s fascinating to see the lilies close up as the afternoon draws to a close. 

Near this area, you should keep an eye out for a bluish-green bridge at the entrance. This garden is inspired by the Monet Garden in Paris, France. It’s one of the best spots for a picture and reminds me of Claude Monet’s famous painting Bridge Over a Pond of Water Lilies. I could easily spend an entire day here!

The Monet Inspired Garden at Gibbs Garden.
The Monet Inspired Garden.
Trees with red and yellow leaves near a pond in the Monet Inspired Garden.
Fall time at the Monet Inspired Garden. Courtesy Bill Manning Photography.
A cat statue in the Japanese Gardens at Gibbs Gardens.
A maneki-neko statue in the Japanese Garden.

Photography at Gibbs Gardens in Georgia

As mentioned earlier, if you have a penchant for capturing natural beauty through photographs, be sure to carry abundant film rolls when you visit Gibbs Gardens in Georgia. Even if you choose to use a digital camera or your phone’s camera, I assure you that you will take many photos. 

You can bring a tripod, but professional photography and photo shoots (amateur or professional) are prohibited. 

Photography tip: There always seems to be a slight breeze in North Georgia, so bring a tripod or use a fast shutter speed for macro photography.

For my latest visit to Gibbs Gardens and most of the pictures in this article, I used my Canon E0S-1N and the Hasselblad 500cm. Although I’m still learning to use medium format cameras, the details in the flower images captured with the Hasselblad 500cm are impressive. 

Except for five digital photos, most of the pictures in this post are film. Some of the film photos were taken by Bill Manning Photography, which are noted below the pictures.

Have you been to Gibbs Gardens in Georgia? If so, please share your experience in the comments section below!

A woman with a Canon film camera. Flowers are in the background.

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7 thoughts on “The Perfect Day Trip to Gibbs Gardens in Georgia”

  1. Your pictures of Gibbs Garden were very great. Better then the photo’s on Gibb’s website.
    Do you know if this weekend in a good time to see tulips in bloom at Gibbs. I can’t reach a person at Gibbs to ask this question.
    Just a phone recording no real person.

    Reply
    • Thank you for your comment and your kind words! I haven’t had a chance to visit there in the past few days, but they are reporting on their social media (Facebook) that daffodils, tulips, and cherry blossoms are in bloom. I find it easier to get in contact with someone at Gibbs through their Facebook page. If you direct message them, they usually respond within a few hours. Also, on their “What’s in Bloom” on their website, they report that tulips are in bloom from March to early May. I hope this is helpful! Thank you again for your comment!

      Reply
    • I apologize for the additional comment. Gibbs Gardens responded to me and stated that the tulips are increasing each day, but no one can predict how the weather will impact them. It is a bit cooler now in North Georgia and will be colder this weekend. They also said that they are expecting record-breaking attendance this Saturday (March 11) since they were recently on the news, and rain is predicted for Sunday. They suggested coming early when the gates open if you plan to visit this Saturday. Thank you again.

      Reply
  2. I have been there to see the daffodils but am thinking of coming this weekend. Are there many flowers even tho the weather is so hot? And what are they.

    Thanks,

    Susan

    Reply
    • Hello!

      Thank you for your comment! Gibbs Gardens has a “What’s in Bloom” page on their site: https://gibbsgardens.com/visit/whats-in-bloom/
      They also post updates on their social media regarding what’s currently in bloom, along with pictures. I usually check their Facebook page first to see what’s going on there and if any events are happening too.

      Best,

      Jessica
      Travel by Grain

      Reply

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