Barnsley Resort – Adairsville, GA
Step into the legendary gardens at Barnsley Resort to learn more about the fascinating history and diverse collection of flora and fauna in the village and heirloom gardens. The horticulture team carefully tends the expansive grounds to ensure it is a true four seasons garden, perfect for viewing at any time of year. Quite often, plants harvested from these landmark gardens may be available for purchase, allowing you to plant a piece of Barnsley Resort in your own yard. Self-guided garden tours are complimentary with your stay or inquire about visiting for the day. BarnsleyResort.com
Gibbs Gardens – Ball Ground, GA
Open March through mid-December
The rolling hills, springs, streams and mature shade trees of the North Georgia Mountains create a unique backdrop for this world-class pleasure garden. This 220-acre site was developed over 30 years by renowned landscape designer, Jim Gibbs, who is committed to achieving a balance between natural and man-made elements to create “the harmony of nature” throughout Gibbs Gardens. Sixteen garden venues with 24 ponds, 32 bridge crossings and 19 waterfalls allow the look of Gibbs Gardens to change every three weeks, making it a treat for guests to visit multiple times throughout the year. The numerous gardens are planted with hundreds of varieties of plants and are carved into pockets surrounded by acres of deciduous trees that provide spectacular fall color. The four feature gardens are the Japanese Gardens, the largest in the U.S.; the Waterlily Gardens, the nation’s largest display in a natural environment with over 140 varieties; the Daffodil Gardens, with over 20 million daffodils; and the Manor House Gardens with seven flowering terraces covering 150 feet change of elevation from the Manor House to the Valley Gardens. GibbsGardens.com
Paradise Garden – Summerville, GA
Created by the most celebrated folk artist in America, Rev. Howard Finster (1916-2001), Paradise Garden is an internationally acclaimed 4-acre art environment. Here, Finster crafted more than 46,000 works of contemporary American folk art including album covers for R.E.M. and The Talking Heads. Nearly every museum in America has an example of Finster’s art including the National Gallery of Art, Library of Congress, and Smithsonian American Art Museum. Yet, it is his personal art environment and garden in Summerville is considered to be Finster’s most important creation.
On the National Register for Historic Places, the 4-acre site has a mosaic garden with embellished raised beds, art sculptures from found objects, concrete grotto walls filled with art reliefs, 200 ft. of mosaic sidewalks, a 300 ft. outdoor gallery, and 18 separate art sculptures, murals, and buildings including the five-story World’s Folk Art Church. Paradise Garden has welcomed over 47,000 visitors from 33 countries and is considered one of the top art environments in the world. CNN called Paradise Garden, “The South’s most inspired garden.” Rev. Howard Finster has been called both “the grandfather of Southern Folk Art” and “the Andy Warhol of the South.” Paradise Garden and Howard Finster has been featured on Headline News Network (division of CNN), NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Esquire Magazine, and Life Magazine. Paradise Garden is open to the public for self-guided tours Tuesday through Sunday, and offers three 5-Star Airbnb overnight lodgings. The outdoor historic environment is pandemic friendly with a picnic area, outdoor hand washing station, and outdoor restroom. ParadiseGardenFoundation.org
The Gardens at Oak Hill-Martha Berry Museum – Rome, GA
Oak Hill is the Greek revival home of Martha Berry, founder of Berry College. Visitors receive a guided tour of the dwelling and Oak Hill’s gardens. Oak Hill’s five separate gardens were designed between 1927 and 1933. Elaborate in design, they complement Oak Hill’s Greek revival architecture and exemplify Martha Berry’s love and appreciation of nature and beauty. Berry.edu/Oakhill/
The Rock Garden – Calhoun, GA
Formerly referred to as The Garden, this volunteer-built, folk art pleasance is a must-see! In addition to the acre of flowers and greenery, there is the captivating artistry of more than 50 diminutive buildings. The structures, all crafted from tiny stones, pebbles, shells, odd pieces of broken glass and china, rocks, ceramic tile, cement, wire and other materials, are designed to imitate their larger counterparts. Pet friendly, leash required. Facebook.com/TheGardenCalhoun
Native Garden at Funk Heritage Center – Waleska, GA
The Funk Heritage Center, located on the campus of Reinhardt University, features an interesting landscape in that it was designed to be a xeriscape, that is engineered and planted to use a minimum amount of water. Varietals of native plants and locally occurring native plants were used as plant material, and a dry creek bed replaced grass in the front of the building. Elaborate grading and underground drainage are combined to carry water from the building foundation to an area engineered to release runoff through filters and a heavily planted garden plot. Guides are prepared to explain how this system works to conserve water and protect a neighboring stream from damaging runoff.
Below the museum is a small native garden named in honor of Lou Retta Barton Northcutt. Plants there are marked with numbers corresponding to descriptions in a brochure available with paid admission to the museum. https://www.reinhardt.edu/funkheritage/
Cox Arboretum – Canton, GA
The Cox Arboretum and Gardens is a private estate where over 4,000 living specimens on display make it one of the largest private collections of temperate flora in the United States. An elevation of 1200 feet along with several lakes and streams allow for the growth of a wide variety of plants in this zone 7B climate. The property is also bounded by several large wetland habitats where many migratory and native fowl make their home. It is situated on 13 acres in the middle of an old-growth southern deciduous hardwood forest, containing many large Oaks, Hickory, Poplar and Sweetgum–some of which are over 100 years old.
The Arboretum was started by Tom and Evelyn Cox in 1990 for the purpose of collecting garden-worthy plants. Throughout the years the mission has evolved with a present focus on plant evaluation, preservation of rare and endangered flora and to develop a public appreciation and enlightenment of plants. It also serves a scientific and educational purpose, through testing and displaying new and rare plants in a garden setting. CoxGardens.com
Robert T. Webb Sculpture Garden – Dalton, GA
The works gathered here represent many forms of modern and contemporary sculpture and are mostly “abstract” or “non-representational.” That means that the artist chose not to create a sculpture that looked like something in nature, like a person or a tree. Sometimes people will ask “what is it supposed to be?” It’s just supposed to be a sculpture. Anything that you see in it is fine. It may not be the artist’s intention, but if you connect with the work in a way that allows you to see something there, then you are just being an engaged viewer. A video description of each sculpture is available on the website. Robert T Web Sculpture Garden
See Rock City – Lookout Mountain, GA
Rock City Gardens is one of the south’s most popular natural attractions. Known for its unique geological and botanical wonders, the enchanted 4,100-foot walking trail is a true marvel of nature featuring massive ancient rock formations, with over 400 species of plants and flowers.
Bring your pet and walk across the Swing-A-Long Bridge that spans nearly 200 feet. See seven states from Lover’s Leap and take in the 140-foot waterfall cascading down Lookout Mountain! Enjoy the outdoor restaurant Café 7, while taking in the magnificent view and feasting on delicious classic southern cuisine with a modern twist – open seasonally.
Wind your way through Fairyland Caverns and Mother Goose Village. Magical adventures await you and yours – with a full year of events, including the Southern Blooms Festival in May! Create memories worth repeating at Rock City Gardens! Free parking. Group rates available. Located six miles from downtown Chattanooga. Visit SeeRockCity.com for more.
Marshall Forest – Rome, GA
Marshall Forest It is one of the few remaining old-growth forests in Northwest Georgia and is referred to as the only virgin forest within city limits of any city in the USA. As Georgia’s first National Natural Landmark, the forest features interpretative trails including a complete ADA Braille Trail. Marshall Forest Interpretive Trail
Burgess Arboretum at Reinhardt University – Waleska, GA
The Burgess Arboretum was built by former Reinhardt University President Dr. James Rowland Burgess. Dr. Burgess indexed more than 1,300 and planted more than 500 trees and shrubs species across the University campus. He labeled all trees and shrubs with plant labels and created an index map for the Arboretum, which is housed in the Hill Freeman Library and Spruill Learning Center. The arboretum was restored and opened in 2009, including the 125 Most Noble Trees and Shrubs Plant Walk. Burgess Arboretum