"I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze ...
Where, may you ask, did I see this crowd of golden daffodils? I saw them fluttering and dancing in the breeze in a beautiful garden in the foothills of the North Georgia Mountain this past Tuesday, March 24, 2015. (Click on collage to enlarge.)
This garden is in Ball Ground, Georgia, about 1 hour north of our house. It is called Gibbs Gardens after its founder and owner, Jim Gibbs, who after majoring in landscape architecture and horticulture became owner of the award-winning Gibbs Landscape Company in Smyrna, Georgia. This is what Jim Gibbs says: "I started building Gibbs Gardens in 1980 but my dream of creating a world-class garden in the Atlanta area began many years earlier. That dream took shape as I traveled all over the world visiting unique and amazing gardens. Inspired by their beauty and the artistry of their designers, I spent more than 30 years designing and developing the Gardens creating 220 acres of landscaped gardens along spring-fed streams, ponds and lakes, surrounded by hillsides covered with mature woodlands. With this magnificent scenery as my canvas, I've been committed to achieving a balance between natural and man-made elements to create "the harmony of nature" throughout Gibbs Gardens." Below is Mr. Gibbs and the entrance to the gardens.
Since 1987 millions of daffodil bulbs have been planted in Gibbs Gardens. Now more than 20+ millions daffodil blossoms representing 60 varieties are blanketing 50-plus acres of rolling hills, fields and valleys. For about 6 weeks early, mi and late-season varieties cover the gardens with blooms ranging from white to saffron including primrose-yellow, yellow, gold, orange and pink. The American Daffodil Society believes that these gardens have the largest display of daffodils in the US.
In addition, Gibbs Gardens offer 16 designed garden venues, including 40 acres of Japanese Gardens, seven flowering terraces covering 150 feet elevation from the Tudor-style mansion, Arbor Crest Manor House, to the valley, and 10 miles of walking and running paths. A tram took us to "Daffodil Hills" and from there we walked up and down the path to the Manor House.
Below are maps of the Manor House and gardens, and the Valley Gardens (click on collage to see better.)
The weather was warm (73+ F/23 C) and dry with a light wind. It was hard not to stop every few steps to take pictures of this great panorama of golden daffodils. We passed by other flowers too - camellias, and flowering bushes.
We stopped and sat on a bench facing the Fish Pool and Waterfall.
Several stone sculptures were placed among the flowers and shrubs.
We arrived at the terraced gardens around the Manor House and were greeted by a spectacular flowering tulip tree.
At the Cabana and Pool more little waterfalls were flowing into the pool.
A multitude of bright pansies brought splashes of colors.
We sat on rocking chairs for a while, watching Mount Oglethorpe facing us. A hawk was flying in the distance.
Then we walked around the house, getting glimpses of the interior,
and going toward the sculpture of a child and cat.
Walking downhill we passed by more daffodils, flowering trees and sculptures.
I had brought three cameras with me and wish I could show all the photos I took. Passing the bear statue we kept going down toward the Japanese Gardens.
The formal Japanese Gardens are best viewed during fall colors with all their brilliant maples. The gardens cover 40 acres and have seven spring-fed ponds as well as 40 handcrafted Japanese lanterns. Gibbs Gardens gives a calendar that shows what is blooming each month. They sell daffodil bulbs as well.
Gibbs Gardens are colorful every season with the Fern Dell, the azaleas, rhododendrons, roses, holly and crape myrtles, cherry blossoms, dogwoods and all the wildflowers. Below are seasonal views of the gardens, courtesy Gibbs Gardens.
The Monet Water Lily Gardens feature 140 varieties of unique lilies. In summer the Japanese Bridge - an exact replica of Monet's Garden arched teal bridge in Giverny (near Paris) is covered with wisteria - you can see it in the collage above. In the spring, the Monet Garden is still lovely bordered by daffodils, or "jonquilles" to use the French word.
Passing by Monet's bridge we walked across several little wood bridges. There were still many daffodils blooming all around us, flowering trees, sculptures, ponds and more.
We were now back to the gardens entrance but saw that a last tram was leaving to ride to the top of the hill offering views of the North Georgia Mountains. We jumped on it to get a last glimpse of all the daffodil blossoms covering meadows and hills.
Reluctantly walking to our car, we stopped one last time over the entrance bridge to take a final look at the brook, the pansies and more daffodils.
This had been a feast for the eyes and the senses. I wished I could take loads of daffodils home, but they will have to stay in my memory.
I gazed - and gazed - but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils."
-William Wordsworth, 1770-1850
Painted by Ludmila Skripchenko, artist from Yalta, Ukraine