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World-Class Garden Design Right Up Gibbs Gardens’ Allée

By Gibbs Gardens
Photographs courtesy of Gibbs Gardens

Visitors to Gibbs Gardens are treated to world-class garden design the moment they turn in from Yellow Creek Road. The gardens’ entrance is a spectacular double allée of 120 Red Sunset maples planted on either side of the road with a second allée of evergreen Leyland cypress on the outside edges of the drive.

“The entrance drive is our promise of what’s to come at Gibbs Gardens,” explained Jim Gibbs, owner, designer, developer of Gibbs Gardens. “I wanted to create a breathtaking welcome for our visitors,” he said. “Back in 1980, when I started planting trees for the first allée, I knew the cypress and maples would one day mature to create a cathedral-like canopy for our visitors.”

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An allee of magnificent red crape myrtle creates a wide ribbon of bright color.

The Art Of The Allée

Allées are one of the most beautiful, unique and difficult garden-design elements. They are rare because of the amount of space, planning and growing time required.

The allée (French for avenue) is a classic garden-design element with a long—and grand—history. Examples may be seen in England at Buscot Park, an 18th century estate in Oxfordshire, and at a National Trust property in Gloucestershire; in France at the 16th century Château de Fontenay, near Paris; in the U.S. at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, and Gibbs Gardens.

With its vast 376 acres and gently rolling wooded terrain, Gibbs Gardens is one of the few gardens in the country with multiple allées for visitors to explore. Jim Gibbs even added an allée of Hightower willow oaks—with all trees genetically matched for high branching and yellow fall color—eventually to canopy the parking lot’s traffic lanes.

Another allée (left of the two entrance flower bridges) features more than 100 Heritage river birch, chosen for their superior white-colored bark in winter months. In the Grandchildren’s Sculpture Garden, an allée of 40 Natchez crape myrtles displays white flowers from June to October and beautiful cinnamon bark for winter interest.

An allée of more than 100 fragrant Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) is located between the Japanese Gardens and the Wildflower Meadow/Butterfly Gardens where an allée of more than 100 Yoshino cherry trees blooms in spring.

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In June thousands of daylilies begin to bloom, showing off flowers in pastel shades as well as red, orange, yellow, purple, white, apricot, and pink flowers.

An allée of Byers Red crape myrtles provides shade for viewing the Daylily Gardens as massive plantings of daylilies begin blooming in June. Thousands of blossoms in pastel shades and red, orange, yellow, purple, white, apricot, and pink flowers in long curving beds sweep across a background of vibrant green grass.

Around The Gardens 

“To give our visitors an unforgettable garden experience, we are always adding new plants, expanding and updating our seasonal and feature gardens,” said Gibbs. “This year we added 135 Heirloom roses planted in the east end of the Rose Gardens. We keep planting a wide variety of roses—floribunda, grandiflora, Knockout shrub roses, Drift roses and Heirloom roses—to accent or expand existing plantings.”

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Sprawling S-shaped curves of Knockout roses fill the Valley Gardens with splashes of vivid color against a backdrop of bright green grass.

The 130-foot-long classical wood trellis covered with blush pink New Dawn roses crowns the Manor House Gardens. Gently falling pink rose petals flutter from the trellis to the path, creating a magnificent rose-scented carpet.

The 15-acre Wildflower Meadow/Butterfly Garden is in blossom. Flanders poppies planted last November from seed are blooming. Gibbs chose poppies for this garden because their strong, vivid colors—bright orange, red and salmon shades—attract butterflies. Mix in the blue, lavender and purple larkspur along with bright yellow coreopsis for a singular butterfly attraction. Tiger swallowtail and eastern black swallowtail butterflies have already been spotted in the Butterfly Gardens.

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Flanders poppies, now blooming in the Wildflower Monarch/Butterfly Garden, entice migrating butterflies to stop and stay awhile.

At the Monet Water Lily Gardens, tropical and hardy blooms create magical reflections in the ponds. “We’ve added lots of new varieties of tropical waterlilies,” said Gibbs. Five ponds showcase more than 140 varieties of waterlilies in their natural environment.

To replace the field of spring tulips, Gibbs planted annuals and perennials throughout the gardens. The White and Green Garden, in beds leading to the Manor House Gardens, is planted with all white begonias, white caladiums and white impatiens with a variety of lush green ferns for contrast.

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Reflections of the Monet Bridge in the Waterlily Gardens.

A World-Class Garden Experience

Honored with the National Garden Clubs’ Award of Excellence, Gibbs Gardens has been named one of the “Thirteen Best Botanical Gardens in America,” “2020 Best American Botanical Gardens,” one of the “World’s 10 Best Places to See Daffodils,” a top garden in Georgia by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and Explore Georgia. To learn more about Gibbs Gardens go to

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