Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sally & Jim Gibbs' Garden

As I mentioned in the previous post, I volunteered last week to serve as a "bus captain" on one of the day tours associated with the national Perennial Plant Association's Symposium in Atlanta.  Here are some photos of the Gibbs garden, visited later that same afternoon.

To give you some background, this property is 292 acres, and is about an hour north of Atlanta, just at the base of the mountains. Mr. Gibbs owns one of Atlanta's leading landscape design, build and maintenance companies, and this is his personal home.  The long term plan is to open the garden up as a public space.  It took Mr. & Mrs. Gibbs several years just to locate and choose the property, based upon its natural topography, and abundance of spring-fed water features. 

What a fantasy to have the resources, the technical skill, and (most of all) the forty years of experience under your belt before taking on your "new" garden. This one is now in its second decade, and things are starting to flesh out beautifully.

Because our buses wouldn't fit all the way up the driveway to the main house, we went in via the lily pond, which contains the largest private collection of waterlilies in a natural setting in the US.
One of the Gibbs' large collection of bronzes is mounted in the middle of one of the lily ponds, which also features a full-sized copy of Monet's famous bridge over the lily pond at Giverny. 
Close up detail of a very cool little maple in the Japanese garden.  Have I mentioned that the Japanese garden covers FORTY acres? 
One of the spring-fed ponds in the Japanese garden. 
Another of the ponds in the Japanese garden.......they seem to never end...... 
As one walks up the path through the woods to the main house, the first view is of the enormous rose arbor which separates the lawn in this area from the flower garden.  It must be incredible earlier in the season! 
A little further up the driveway, I found this urn, which I think is just exquisite in its simplicity. 
One view of the flower garden.  It's important to note that there are lots of perennials here, but also an enormous number of annuals.  As a company, Gibbs does a great job with annual color displays, and this garden gives that classic look while using mostly annuals. 

I happen to love this combinaton of Perovskia (Russian Sage) and Lythrum virgatum "Morden's Pink" lythrum, which I may replicate at the Big House, in a bed that is almost entirely daylilies, and fries out by early July.  My home is that this duo will come up and explode in color just as the yellow daylilies are going to sleep for the season.   "Morden's Pink" is a sterile variety; having said that, I know there have been some issues of it spreading in other parts of the country.  I've had it in another area at the Big House and in my home garden for three years now with no sign of casually sending off seeds. This is one of those "do what you are comfortable with" plants. 
Looking down from the main house over the flower beds. 
Another angle showing effective use of annuals that do well in Georgia's crazy summer heat. 
As always, click on the photos to see them in more detail. As for me, I'm off to pull some weeds.......


  1. OMG, please tell me this man has a crew of gardeners. The Japanese garden is drop-dead stunning.

  2. I agree!! Please tell me a crew is involved! Your pictures are stunning. I have been sooo busy with landscaping that I have not been following you. i must again. I love a touch of the South.

  3. Oh my goodness - I've got SERIOUS Japanese garden envy! My whole garden is an acre and the Japanese garden is only one small part of the whole. I was feeling pretty pleased with it.......!

    Great blog though - thanks!

  4. What a splendid rose arbor! I would be keen to see at full bloom!