9 Garden Getaways to Celebrate Spring Around Atlanta
Free. Chastain Park, Powers Ferry Road NW and Chastain Park Ave. NW, Atlanta. 404-546-6813; Le Chastain, 4320 Powers Ferry Road, Atlanta. 404-257-6416, thechastainatl.com.
If you haven’t been there yet, you might not know that the historic cemetery isn’t all macabre and mysterious. It’s actually a lot more “alive” than you might imagine. Billed as “Atlanta’s oldest public park,” Oakland Cemetery’s 48 acres come alive with thousands of ancient daffodils, an arboretum of everything from oak trees to flowering myrtles, and other beautiful gardens. Although free, the cemetery offers tours and special experiences like their Illumine nights, which require admission tickets (April 21-May 1, $15-$25).
Free for general admission. Oakland Cemetery, 248 Oakland Ave. SE, Atlanta. 404-688-2107, www.oaklandcemetery.com.
Lose yourself in a sea of daffodils and tulips at Gibbs Gardens, located about an hour north of Atlanta. Whether you’re a fan of the traditional English garden or a dramatic French landscape aesthetic, guests can find slices of both here among overgrown wildflower meadows, lush, winding rose gardens, and manicured foxglove beds. Also discover their Japanese garden, which transports you around the world with its magnificent display of cherry blossoms, trillium flowers and Japanese architectural structures.
$10 to $20. Gibbs Gardens, 1987 Gibbs Drive, Ball Ground. 770-893-1880, gibbsgardens.com.
Now taking the title of the city’s largest green space, Westside Park (which opened last summer) is prepped and ready for its first official spring. With over 280 acres of green space, there’s plenty of spring wonderland to explore. Invite your crew and plan a picnic to make it a full day adventure.
Free. Westside Park. 1660 Johnson Road NW, Atlanta. 404-546-6788, westsidepark-atl.com.
Atlanta Botanical Garden
No brainer here. If you’re looking for a place to unleash your inner flower fanatic, then this one is definitely at the top of your list. The “Atlanta Blooms” exhibit, which runs through April 30, is a springtime showcase of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, crocuses and other breathtaking blooms on their 30-acre space. This year, the exhibit will feature floating islands of multicolored tulips and daffodils in their Skyline Garden pond. Visit their website for special events and classes; and also check out ABG’s Gainesville Garden for another great horticultural haven.
$19.95 to $44.95. 1345 Piedmont Ave NE, Atlanta. 404-876-5859, atlantabg.org.
Chattahoochee Nature Center
This natural playground is 127 acres, including hiking trails, canoeing and, of course, a garden. The garden center focuses on native plants (over 600 varieties) and the conservation of endangered local plants, such as the Alabama leather flower. For an exclusive photo opportunity, be sure to check out the newly renovated and eco-friendly NCC River Boardwalk Trail and Connection Bridge, which allow visitors to explore more of the terrain. And don’t miss the annual Flying Colors Butterfly Festival, which takes place June 4-5 this year.
$9 to $15. Chattahoochee Nature Center, 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell. 770-992-2055, chattnaturecenter.org.
If viticulture is more your style of botanical pleasure, then kudos to you. Chateau Elan Wine Estate and Resort is a great way to experience spring flora – while exploring the floral notes of their estate wines. The resort offers picnic experiences, private outdoor dining, or wine bungalow packages (for groups of four to six), in which guests are invited to dine at their scenic vineyards.
Visit website for pricing. Chateau Elan, 100 Charlemagne Drive, Braselton. 678-425-0900, chateaulan.com.
Head to Kennesaw for another nifty collection of earthly charms, including over 20,000 blooming daffodils and a bonsai garden. The 17-acre site also includes woodland trails, a tea house and a sculpture collection. And with 94 camellia plants of four different species, Smith-Gilbert Gardens was recently designated a Camellia Trail Garden by the American Camellia Society, which recognizes notable camellia collections across the country.
$5 to $10. Smith-Gilbert Gardens, 2382 Pine Mountain Road, Kennesaw. 770-919-0248, smithgilbertgardens.com.
Cator Woolford Gardens
This not-so-secret garden is free for the public to explore. The 1920s Italian style gardens, once part of the former estate of Cator Woolford (co-founder of the credit company now known as Equifax), are now one of the city’s most popular event spaces for weddings, cocktail parties, and photoshoot bookings (a reasonable $100 an hour for smaller sessions like engagement and maternity shoots). Proceeds from private event and photoshoot bookings go to The Frazer Center, a non-profit organization to benefit adults and children with developmental disabilities.
Free. Cator Woolford Gardens, 1815 S. Ponce De Leon Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-377-3836, catatorwoolfordgardens.org.