Even More Gems of Gardens Not So Far Away

It is impossible to adequately cover all the garden treasures we are so fortunate to have here in Georgia.   Here are a few more gardens you’ll enjoy.  Please feel free to let us know about any you’d love to see get some well-deserved attention.

Parterre herb and boxwood garden.

A view across the boxwood and herb parterre at the Hills and Dales estate in LaGrange.

The State Botanical Garden of Georgia in Athens occupies 313 acres, just three miles from the University of Georgia campus.  The garden’s mission statement reflects its goals in education, research, recreation, and public service to the residents of Georgia.  There is so much to see and do here.

  • The Tropical Conservatory contains plants from various tropical regions, many which have provided foods, fibers, medicines, and everyday necessities for millennia.
  • The Herb and Physic Garden features medicinal herb plants from Europe as well as ancient Egypt, Greece, and Asia.  These practical gardens served as inspirations for the first botanical gardens.
  • The Shade and Native Flora Garden features a calming, easily accessible shade garden favored by birds, and a garden of over 300 species of plants native to the southeastern US.
  • The International Garden offers an opportunity to explore the origins, uses, development and conservation of plants from other countries, many of which we grow in our own gardens.
  • The Flower Garden is subdivided into many gardens, based on either specific plant forms, or specific function, such as the Bulb Garden, Meditation Garden, or Bee Pasture.  It is among these gardens that the latest outstanding plant selections are on display.
  • Trails and Natural Areas provide a variety of hiking and wildlife watching opportunities.  These areas are popular with birding groups.
The Florida Walk at Hills and Dales estate.

Variegated Tapioca, Coleus, Caladiums, Castor Bean, and Lilies along the Florida Walk at Hills and Dales in LaGrange.

Hills and Dales in LaGrange is the site of a garden whose beginnings date back to 1841.  Once the home of the Callaways (as in Callaway Gardens), the 35-acre estate features the family home, an Italianate mansion, surrounded by multiple formal boxwood gardens and mazes, an herb garden, greenhouse, and many shaded allees, lined with majestic trees, many planted in the mid-19th century.  Walking paths wind through well manicured woodland areas.  Well manicured hedges of tea plants, and an outdoor garden planted with tropical plants are unexpected surprises.  The greenhouse preserves the offspring of plants (and in some cases, the very plants) originally grown by members of the Callaway family.  On the far side of the greenhouse is a quite charming flower and vegetable garden, with its just right balance of careful grooming and innate wildness.

Lockerly Arboretum in Milledgeville,  encompasses 50 acres surrounding a mid-19th century Greek Revival mansion built by Daniel R. Tucker.  The landscaping was influenced by A. J. Downing, widely known as the “Father of American Landscape Architecture”, who was a friend of the Tucker family.  The gardens feature azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, viburnums, daylilies, conifers, hollies, iris, and a greenhouse containing tropical plant and cactus collections.  The Oliver N. Worley Outdoor Education Center, a wilderness area of 200 acres in Eatonton, belongs to the Lockerly Arboretum, and is available for camping and simply enjoying nature.

Massee Lane Gardens in Fort Valley is the home of the American Camellia Society (ACS).  The gardens are over 100 acres, and feature the ACS camellia collections, which, with over 1000 varieties of camellias, are among the finest in the world.  Massee Lane Gardens also has a Japanese Garden, rose garden, and a native plant garden, where local endangered species are offered protection.

A view along the Magnolia Walk at Hills and Dales in LaGrange.  The large trunk in the center belongs to a Magnolia grandiflora planted in the early-mid 1800's.

A view along the Magnolia Walk at Hills and Dales in LaGrange. The large trunk in the center belongs to a Magnolia grandiflora planted in the early-mid 1800’s.

Be sure to check out the websites for these wonderful gardens, and plan a day trip, soon.







(The header photo was taken in the wisteria arbor of the Church Garden at Hills and Dales in LaGrange.)