Gibbs Gardens in Georgia is one of my favorite gardens to visit every year. Each time we go, the gardens change, with different blooms emerging during the four seasons. It makes the perfect day trip to walk around the property to see all the vibrant colors while taking many photos.
There is so much beauty at Gibbs Gardens, and I always end up shooting at least two rolls of film. There are numerous flowers, small waterfalls, bridges, gazebos, streams, and a gorgeous manor house. It is one of the best gems in North Georgia and not too far from Atlanta and the surrounding Metro area.
This article covers the location of Gibbs Gardens, visiting tips, and what you will see when you go. If you love experimental photography and wildflowers, don’t forget to check out my other article on Gibbs Gardens cosmos wildflowers here.
Where is Gibbs Gardens in Georgia Located?
Gibbs Gardens is located 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 are coming from Interstate 575, chances are you will drive through downtown Ball Ground. If you have time, you’ll want to stop at this quaint little town. There are places to shop and eat, and they have a new brewery, Rock Solid, to grab a drink. Or, you can grab some delicious barrel-aged coffee at Barrel House Coffee Company. You can read more about Ball Ground 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 hard not to stop and take a bunch of pictures!
Brief History of the Gardens
Jim Gibbs is the owner of Gibbs Gardens and founder of Gibbs Landscape Company. If you drive around Metro Atlanta, you might see their landscaping trucks. He comes from a family of gardeners and started planting in Gibbs Gardens in 1980. Only recently, Gibbs Gardens opened to the public after three decades of growing the gardens! I can only imagine the work and time to create something this magnificent.
Today it is one of the largest residential gardens you can visit in the United States, as his European-style house (the Manor House) sits on the property. Jim Gibbs is also a founding member of the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, another stunning garden you must visit in Atlanta.
When Should You Visit
Gibbs Gardens operating hours vary but are only open from March (sometimes late February) to December. Visit their website for more information on their hours, as they change frequently.
They are closed for most of the winter, which is slightly disappointing, as I would love to see some snow on the grounds and take photos. Despite that, Gibbs Gardens is excellent in any season, but the late winter and early springtime are the best.
Daffodils, Fall Colors, and Summer Roses
Gibbs Gardens is primarily known for its daffodils. Millions bloom each March and April, and they grow many varieties. You can visit the first two weeks of March to see the early bloomers and then come back to see the mid and late-bloomers that usually show up in late March through early to mid-April.
Sometimes they even bloom in late February, given the weather and growing conditions. Of course, this timeline always depends on Mother Nature.
We also love to visit in the fall time for the fall foliage. The fall colors in the Japanese Gardens are spectacular – you will see vibrant red, orange, and yellow leaves. And the reflection of the trees in the ponds adds so much color to the scenery. Plan an October visit to see the best fall foliage.
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.
Summer is also a lovely time in the gardens as it is less crowded than spring and fall. It is hot and humid, but many pathways are in the shade, so it isn’t too terrible. There are still plenty of flowers, especially roses and water lilies.
Tip: Check their social media or sign up for their newsletter for daily updates on the fall colors and daffodil reports. They also have a “what’s in bloom” on their website here.
Parking, Admission, and Visiting Tips
Parking is free at Gibbs Gardens. There are different parking sections, but they will guide you where to park. If you visit during crowded times, you might have to park further away from the main entrance.
It is highly recommended to purchase your tickets in advance on their website. You can buy in person, but you might have to wait in line, especially during the spring and fall seasons. If you purchase the tickets online, you can print them, or they can scan the ticket from your phone or tablet.
Visit their website for information on ticket and membership prices. For 2023, adult tickets are $25 per person ($18 for seniors) and $10 per child. Children under 2 get in free.
If you plan to visit multiple times in a year, I suggest buying a membership. Memberships are slightly pricey ($60 for an adult, $30 for a child), but they usually do a promotion every December and January where you can buy one membership and get one free. We end up with two passes, and it’s not bad for $30! They usually email you about the membership deals if you are signed up with their newsletter.
You will want to bring the membership card when you arrive so they can scan it. Other membership benefits are listed online, and you can upgrade your ticket after a visit.
Plan at least 3 to 4 hours to visit the property and bring comfortable shoes because you will do lots of walking! They used to have a tram service to take you around the gardens, but unfortunately, it has been permanently discontinued.
You can only take water once inside the gardens, but they have a cafe where you can buy food and drinks. If you love lemonade, you must try the organic raspberry lemonade. It is the best lemonade I’ve ever had. Not too sweet and not too tart. I am always so bummed if they do not have it when I visit.
There is also a garden gift shop to purchase seeds, pots, pottery, and other garden and home goods. It’s small, but a cute shop and I always enjoy walking around in it.
Can you bring your dog? Nope, unless it is a service dog. More information about service dogs and other things you can and cannot do or bring can be found here.
If you are lucky, you will see one of the garden cats. You can usually find them hanging around the manor house or garden entrance. Of course, I always have to take several photos when I see them!
A Glance Inside the Gardens
The gardens are enormous – over 300 acres! You can download a map online or on your phone, but they also have maps at the entrance building.
I enjoy all the gardens, but I especially love visiting the Japanese Gardens and Manor House Gardens each time I go. If you go for the daffodils, you will pretty much see them scattered throughout the entire property, but the Daffodil Gardens are gorgeous – you’ll see so many dotting the hillscape with the North Georgia mountains in the background.
The trek to the Manor House is uphill but worth the hike as it provides the best views of the mountains. You cannot go into the manor house, but you can walk around the gardens, the pool, and the guest 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. It’s neat to see the lilies close toward the end of the afternoon.
Look for a bluish-green bridge near the entrance. This is Monet’s Garden inspired by the Monet Garden outside of Paris, France. It is one of the best spots for a picture and reminds me of Claude Monet’s Bridge Over a Pond of Water Lilies. I can easily sit here all day.
Photography at Gibbs Gardens in Georgia
As mentioned above, it is very easy to go through multiple film rolls when visiting Gibbs Gardens in Georgia. If you love taking many nature photos, you will want to plan accordingly in bringing film stock. If you take a digital camera or use your phone’s camera, I promise you will take many images too!
You can bring a tripod, but professional photography (e.g., engagement portraits) is prohibited.
It is always windy or a slight breeze in North Georgia, so you might want to bring a tripod or have a fast shutter speed if you plan to do macro photography.
For my latest visit and most of the pictures in this post, I used my Canon E0S-1N and the Hasselblad 500cm. I don’t use a medium format too much (I am still learning to use these), but the details in the flower images using the Hasselblad 500cm are stunning. Most of the pictures in this post are film, minus five digital photos. A few of the film photos are courtesy of Bill Manning Photography (noted below the pictures).
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