Yellow fever in bloom: Gibbs Gardens begins Daffodil Fest Saturday
by Rebecca Johnston
February 27, 2014 11:49 PM | 4612 views | 0 0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Gibbs Gardens opens Saturday for the third annual Daffodil Festival. The world-class garden near Ball Ground features 20 million daffodils that bloom during the next six weeks. <br> Special to the Tribune
Gibbs Gardens opens Saturday for the third annual Daffodil Festival. The world-class garden near Ball Ground features 20 million daffodils that bloom during the next six weeks.
Special to the Tribune
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BALL GROUND — For those who are not sure if spring will ever arrive, a trip to Gibbs Gardens for the 2014 Daffodil Festival beginning Saturday will chase away any doubts.

The festival, which runs through April 15, will feature 20 million blooms covering more than 50 acres and is the largest display in the country.

Jim Gibbs, the owner, developer and designer of the premier garden destination in north Cherokee County, said that this year is going to be the best yet.

“We have added another 100,000 new daffodils for this year. We planted about 7,000 a day and got them planted just before Christmas,” Gibbs said. “With the tough winter, daffodils normally begin blooming on Feb. 15 when the February Gold are blooming, but this year they are just blooming, so they are coming in about two weeks later.”

Daffodils bloom in three groups with each blooming about two weeks beginning with the early bloomers, followed by the mid-season, which come in for two weeks, then the late bloomers, so there are six weeks of color, Gibbs said.

“Gardens can inspire people in many ways. People who come to Gibbs Gardens tell me they love to see the beautiful flowers and gardens,” Gibbs said.

Gibbs said the song “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles was written by George Harrison while he was visiting a country home near London in the spring.

“He woke up early one morning and decided to take a guitar and go out into the gardens. He strolled around writing ‘Here Comes the Sun,’ and when he says the smiles are returning to their faces, he was looking at the daffodils,” Gibbs said.

Gibbs also pointed to the poet William Wordsworth, who saw 10,000 daffodils and wrote his poem.

The owner of Gibbs Gardens said it has actually been more rewarding than he imagined to be open to the public.

“I always knew gardeners are nice people, as my friend Vince Dooley said, the nicest people in the world,” Gibbs said. “They don’t clutter the gardens. If they see something dropped on the ground, they pick it up. They are appreciative.”

He said that the gardens were 32 years in the making.

“People say they can’t believe it has just opened. Every year attendance is going up, and last year, even with rain, attendance went up, he said.

“The goal was whatever visitors did, they had a wonderful experience. The café bakes fresh bread every day, the gift shop is completely redone, with new stock and displays. We hope those who come to stroll in the gardens, enjoy the experience and keep coming back and bring their friends,” he said.

During the six-week Daffodil Festival, hundreds of cherry trees, forsythia, spirea, quince and thousands of mature dogwoods come into bloom to give a backdrop for the daffodils.

Daffodil blossom colors come in primrose-yellow, yellow, gold, saffron, orange, shades of yellow and orange and blush pinks, creamy whites and white in early-, mid- and late-season varieties.

Late-blooming fragrant daffodils along borders and paths sweeten the spring air with nature’s gentle scents.

Gentle walks traverse two of the hillsides and climb 150 feet to views of the North Georgia Mountains in the near distance with millions of daffodils below. Views of hillsides and valleys carpeted by myriad shades of silver and gold offer a once-in-a-lifetime garden experience.

The 300-acre Gibbs estate garden in Cherokee County includes 220 acres of breathtaking gardens set in mature rolling woodlands dotted with ponds, springs, streams and waterfalls.

The Gardens are open Tuesday through Sunday from March 1 to June 15 and Wednesday through Sunday from June 18 until Dec. 15.

Tickets to visit the gardens are $20 for general admission to all 16 garden venues. Seniors (65 and older), tour groups of 10 or more and children 4-17 can visit the gardens for $18. Children 3 and younger are free.

There is no charge for parking.

For more information, visit www.gibbsgardens.com or email info@gibbsgardens.com.

Gibbs Gardens is at 1998 Gibbs Drive, Ball Ground. For more information, call (770) 893-1880 or (770) 893-1881.

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