Wednesday, March 26, 2014

We Welcome Spring with Seven Million Daffodils

March 20, 2014

Gibbs Gardens

Ball Ground, Georgia

Surely there is no better place to celebrate the arrival of Spring than Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground, Georgia.  More than 20 million daffodils will bloom here over a six week period, and seven million of them are blooming right now--the first day of Spring.  They carpet hillside meadows, they meander through the woodlands.  So many varieties are in bloom it is pointless to count, but if you really want to know names so you can buy some for your own garden, there are big labeled pots of all the blooming varieties near the Welcome Center. 

As for the ebullient experience of wandering the paths through the gardens today, William Wordsworth said it best in his poem "Daffodils":
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.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
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.

 This is reputed to be the largest daffodil display in the country. 
And there's more.

We are already anticipating another visit in the Fall, when the largest Japanese garden in the country will be ablaze in color.  Even now, in its least dramatic season, the Japanese garden is a place of tranquil beauty, its paths winding past artfully sculpted bonsai trees beside spring-fed ponds with gentle waterfalls.  Tiny spring green leaves are just emerging from the cascading shoots of the willow trees.  

Jim Gibbs says, “The greatest difficulty of my garden design was to integrate 16 garden venues and preserve the natural beauty of the land.  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.” 

How magnificently he has succeeded in achieving that balance.

Over thirty years in the making, Gibbs Gardens has been open for just two years, and it is still somewhat unknown.   But, it is only an hour from metro Atlanta, so we can only imagine that word will travel fast, and we may be fighting crowds the next time we stop by.


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