The Fred Hamilton Rhododendron Garden in the North Georgia Mountains of Hiawassee is the area’s best kept secret. The 3, 000-plant collection includes the largest rhododendron collection in the state of Georgia and the only domestic yellow azalea known to exist. The mile-long trail loops lead visitors through a maze of natural beauty in a peaceful oasis filled with cherry trees, dogwoods, lady slippers and tulip magnolias. Among the lush plant variety, Lake Chatuge serves as the perfect backdrop. Guests are welcome to attend several different events throughout the year, including a fall festival, and during the spring, they can purchase flowers from a variety of rhododendrons, azaleas and other plants from the garden.
The Garden of the Coastal Plain in Statesboro is home to more than 11 acres of woodland trails, an arboretum, the Whelchel Camellia Garden and more. The breathtaking Georgia landscape has been overtaken by longleaf pines, magnolia branches and cottage courtyards filled with stunning hydrangeas and perennials. The flowers attract an array of hummingbirds and fluttering butterflies for viewing throughout the gardens and daily changes assure there’s always something new to see at the Garden of the Coastal Plain. Ther Heritage Farmyard, Weathervane Barn Rural Life Exhibit, Oak Grove One Room Schoolhouse and the Kennedy Outdoor Classroom all provide plenty of outlets for educational opportunities and a Children’s Learning Garden that makes learning about plants fun and exciting.
Vines Botanical Gardens in Loganville went from being a private home, to a public garden, back to a private residence and finally to the county park it is today. The lush garden is centered around the glistening Swan Lake, where water birds perch in the afternoon sun. Several different fountains populate the park and a romantic bridge curves over one of the waterways, providing visitors with a gorgeous view of the growing vegetation and gorgeous flower beds. The Vines Botanical Gardens also features a water garden, a garden railroad, a rose garden and the Vines Mansion, which is commonly used for event rentals.
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The Waddell Barnes Botanical Gardens in Macon is home to 16 different themed gardens with shaded walking trails intertwined throughout. Each different garden is bursting with extravagant beauty, whether it be a grove of cherry trees, Asian Shade Trees, a Conifer Garden or the beautiful colors of the Summer Garden; it’s all a sight to behold. Each collection in the Waddell Barnes Botanical Gardens offers something different and even the winter months see new life in the Winter Garden with camellias, Spike Winterhazel, Dwarf Fothergilla and Slender Hinoki False Cypress.
The Smith-Gilbert Gardens in Kennesaw are home to more than 3, 000 species of plants and the historic Hiram Butler House, built in 1881. The home was restored to its original beauty in the 1970s with several renovations, and today the Hiram Butler House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Of course, the garden has an unparalleled experience to offer as well. Sixty minute guided tours take visitors around the grounds where they will discover a variety of collections, including the Conifer Garden, the Perennial Garden, Cedar Field and Rose Garden, the Camellia Garden and much more. Make sure to note the 31 different carefully placed sculptures around the gardens! They tell the unique story of Mr. Richard Smith and Dr. Robert Gilbert and their beautiful garden collections.
The Savannah Botanical Gardens in Savannah have been delighting visitors with breathtaking gardens, historical exhibits and the chance for peaceful relaxation since the 1980s. The gardens are centered around the historic Reinhard House, a 19th century Savannah home that was moved to the botanical garden in 1990, and it is often rented for special events and weddings. The Savannah Botanical Gardens are filled with natural beauty, from the winding nature trails to the two acre pond, archaeological exhibit and charming gardens featuring roses, perennials and herbs.
The restored Dunaway Gardens, located just south of Atlanta, features nearly 25 acres of historic gardens that were once frequented by celebrities, directors and performers during the 1930s and 40s. The gardens which were named after actress Hetty Jane Dunaway, eventually fell into disarray but in 2000, the owner decided to bring Dunaway Gardens back to life. Today, it’s used by many professional photographers and brides for garden weddings, and visitors stop by for self-guided tours of the property, which is filled with fascinating sights to see. The four Arrowhead Pools surround a 60-foot totem pole carved by Chief Sawtee, the Hanging Garden is filled with stunning perennials and two stone staircases and a newly designed rose garden features cedar trellises, walking paths and more than 100 roses.