Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2018 - 59
was already planning because I had
a much prettier view than the Sidonian Hills. I had Mount Oglethorpe
and the Allegheny Chain of the
Blue Ridge Mountains."
There's another international
touch you can't miss. Near the entrance, a footbridge draped in wisteria curves over a pond of water lilies,
a dead ringer for Monet's Giverny
outside Paris. It's the largest natural
display of water lilies in the nation
and a good start to your visit, which
feels a bit like stepping into an Impressionist painting.
The scenes at Gibbs Gardens are
shamelessly designed for artistic effect. You won't find botanical labels
or plant netting. Each bench, gate,
arbor and gazebo complements
the scenery. The house itself, an
English-style manor, blends into its
background, surrounded by terraces, garden rooms and stone paths at
the highest point in the garden, 150
feet above the valley.
"Building a garden is creative,"
Gibbs says. "I remember in college
a professor used to say, 'Just pretend
you're an artist. You're not going to
put paint on a canvas, but you have
to know how to use the colors.'"
And colors there are aplenty.
The garden opens for its color
show beginning each year in March
with 20 million daffodils that turn
the hills cream and yellow.
The flowers were planted
to bloom in waves, early,
middle and late, so there's
no bad time to go. Most
hit their peak in summer,
when roses, crape myrtle,
hydrangeas and more are
in season, before fall takes over with
the rich hues of wildflowers and
At any time of year, it's an unexpected oasis in the mountains. It's
a place where waterfalls pour into
calm reflecting pools, where the
terrain is cultivated rather than rugged, where the fresh air is fragrant
PHOTO COURTESY OF GIBBS GARDENS
Japanese maples, stone lanterns, spring-fed ponds, bridges and more add serenity to the Japanese Gardens.
May/June 2018 59