Right here in Kennesaw, Georgia, lies a hidden gem of a garden aptly named Smith-Gilbert after the owners who purchased the house and sixteen acres in 1970.
For the next thirty-five years, the two men renovated the house, now on the National Register of Historic Places, and added plantings that would provide protection and food for their new interest in the variety of birds they noticed on their property.
The result -- an Eden sporting 3, 000 species of plants with man made trails of dirt, gray slate, and rock that provides a sanctuary for man and bird -- and a place for the layman like me to go to enjoy how the "masters" put together a home and property that must rival the best.
Meadows, conifer gardens, woodland walks, two ponds (with koi) with a waterfall, a Japanese Maple grove, rose and camellia gardens, cedar field, and a bonsai garden are just a few of the many places to gaze and gawk and ooh and ahh, and just as much time will be spent bending down to get a better look and to ask, "What is this?"The good news -- hours have been put in to label these trees or plants.
I had never seen a giant dogwood. There it is, nicely labeled for me to read.
True story -- I didn't know that tree existed.
The Smith-Gilbert Gardens relies on volunteers to not only work in the fresh vegetable garden patch (the produce from this, donated) but to maintain the masses of beds of roses and perennials that need pruning and babying in order to keep them looking their best.
As my friend and I were leaving, a nice-looking gentleman in a plaid shirt and khakis asked us if we enjoyed our walk, and we exclaimed enthusiastically that we did. He said, "Please tell your friends to come by -- we need the visitors." We passed by him a few minutes later knee deep in a mulch bed giving a shovel a good workout.
So, I decided to give them a shout out on my blog.
They are open Monday through Saturday from 9 to 4. So if you are bored or hot, take in Smith-Gilbert gardens on Pine Mountain Road for a mere seven dollar donation -- and bring your lunch -- they have a fabulous picnic area under a canopy of trees.
Aside: In 2008, when I was still teaching at KMHS, a plane crashed in a nearby neighborhood. It was so close to the school that the students who were out on the playing fields came in the building talking about the many helicopters who were circling and the smoke from the fire. The plane crashed on the Smith-Gilbert property and took out a considerable section of woods. A sign on the property begs for donations to restore that part to its original splendor.
ETA: I felt like I just got a job writing copy for a brochure. LOL