Tag Archives: Japanese Garden

Japanese Maples Festival at Gibbs Gardens

Japanese Maples Festival at Gibbs Gardens


Ball Ground, GA

It’s hard to point to a more magnificent tree in the fall landscape than a Japanese maple (Acer palmatum), and at Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground, Georgia, it’s just WOW during the annual Japanese Maples Festival from Oct. 1 – Nov. 15.

More than 2,000 Japanese maples in 100 varieties are putting on a brilliant display in the 40-acre Japanese Garden, the largest in the United States. This area in particular area is to be savored, with seven spring-fed ponds, islands, bridges, massive boulders and so many beautiful scenes to enjoy.

Gibbs Gardens is a pleasure garden created by the Atlanta area landscape designer Jim Gibbs, founder of Gibbs Landscape Co., one of the largest landscaping firms in Atlanta.


Less than an hour’s drive from Atlanta, the gardens are open from March 1 through Dec. 15, Wednesday – Sunday

Located at 1987 Gibbs Drive, Ball Ground, GA 30107

Phone 770-893-1880 or 770-893-1881


Memphis: Memphis Botanic Garden



Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis Botanic Garden

If you think the most popular attraction in Memphis is Graceland, know that the Memphis Botanic Garden has its own legion of devoted fans.

Here are more than 96 acres, with 28 specialty gardens, among them: an extensive holly collection; a hosta trail designated as an American Hosta Society National Display Garden; a Cactus and Succulent Garden; Conifer Collection; Four Seasons Garden; Hydrangea Garden; Azalea Trail; Magnolia Trail; Rose and Iris Gardens.

The Daylily Circle is an official Display Garden by the American Hemerocallis Society and features approximately 500 different daylilies. The Herb Garden is one of the largest in the United States, with 750 species represeningt those which will do well in the Mid-South, or are being trialed.

One of the photographed locations in the Memphis is the Japanese Garden of Tranquility (Seijaku-En). Originally designed by Dr. P.T. Tono of Tokyo, the garden was redesigned in 1989 by garden designer, Dr. Koichi Kawana who  worked with local landscape architect J. Ritchie Smith. Dr. Kawana pioneered the design of traditional Japanese gardens that employ native plants.

Instead of merely reading a list of plants, the Butterfly Garden is a wonderful place to visit, and see firsthand which plants attract different species of butterflies in terms of color and nectar. Many of these plants found here are natives. Herbs such as parsley, fennel, and chives are food for butterfly larvae, while coneflowers, goldstrum daisies, asters, and joe pye weed are nectar sources.

The W.C. Paul Arboretum is a showcase of rare trees and is a must see for horticulturalists.

A wonderful tribute to honor the men and women in the Armed Forces of the United States, the Blue Star Memorial Marker and Garden is designed to represent the stars and stripes of the American flag.

What’s Special

My Big Backyard children’s garden is part horticultural display, part children’s museum, part playground and part imagination extraorinaire.

Memphis Botanic Garden

Memphis Botanic Garden

Among the many attractions, Seedling Circle is a special spot for toddlers while Nature Play features more challenging activities, like fort-building. Raindrop Stop comes on every 30 minutes, with one minute of clouds and thunder followed by two minutes of “rain”.  And in Wormville, young visitors Wiggle like a worm through larger-than-life worm tunnels.


Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.

Phone: (901)636-4100

Address: 750 Cherry Road Memphis, TN 38117

General info email: info@memphisbotanicgarden.com [ info ]

Portland: Japanese Garden

Portland, Oregon

Japanese Garden


Considered the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan, Portland’s Japanese Garden has its own personality, reflected in five formal garden styles set on five and one-half acres: the Strolling Pond Garden, the Natural Garden, the Sand and Stone Garden, the Flat Garden and the Tea Garden.

What’s Special?

There are a number of concepts at work in a Japanese garden. There’s the concept of using “borrowed scenery,” such as the remarkable vista across the city of Portland toward the Cascade Mountains and Mount Hood. The concept of “hide and reveal” is subtle and affords the visitor delightful surprises. Plantings, placement of stones, and the route of pathways all give the garden wanderer constantly changing views. The garden is meant to calm and soothe, and instead of gasping in awe, the visitor is encouraged to pause and reflect.

Traditional Japanese gardens emphasize natural, abstract beauty, and you won’t find  the typical signage labeling plants.


Summer Public Hours (March 13 – September 30)

Winter Public Hours (October 1 – March 12)

The Garden is located in the west hills of Portland, Oregon, directly above the Rose Gardens in Washington Park.

Street Address
611 SW Kingston Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97205


New maple leaves are bright green, as the Portland weather turns warm again. Photo Credit: David Cobb

Durham: Sarah P Duke Gardens – Duke University

Duke Asiatic-Arboretum1-RF

Durham, North Carolina

Sarah P Duke Gardens – Duke University

Called “the crown jewel of Duke University,” as well as listed among the top 10 public gardens in the country by TripAdvisor, the Sarah P. Duke Gardens is adjacent to Duke University Medical Center.

The Duke Gardens covers 55 acres, with five miles of allees and walks, and includes:

  • The original Terraces and their immediate surroundings,
  • Blomquist Garden of Native Plants, with more than 900 species of native Southern wildflowers,
  • The 20-acre Culberson Asiatic Arboretum showcases plants of eastern Asia,
  • The Charlotte Brody Discovery Garden, teaches visitors about sustainable landscaping, healthy eating and organic best- practices, with  organic vegetable beds, an orchard, fruiting shrubs and vines, a chicken coop, a tobacco barn, and a rain garden.

Open daily from 8 a.m. to dusk. [ info ]

Photo: Bamboo and Japanese-style arched bridge in the Culberson Asiatic Arboretum. Photo by Rick Fisher.

St Louis: Missouri Botanical Garden


The Missouri Botanical Garden is considered by many as one of the top botanical gardens in the world. Garden founder Henry Shaw originally came to St. Louis in 1819 to sell hardware and cutlery, eventually amassing a fortune. Long interested in botany, his travels abroad inspired Shaw to build a garden in St. Louis like the great gardens and estates of Europe. The Missouri Botanical Garden (known as Shaw’s Garden by many in St. Louis) opened to the public in 1859. Today, it’s one of the oldest botanical institutions in the United States and a National Historic Landmark.

Its over 79 acres includes a 14-acre Japanese strolling garden, a Chinese garden, rose garden, English Woodland Garden, Ottoman Garden, the Climatron conservatory, one of the world’s largest collections of rare and endangered orchids and Garden founder Henry Shaw’s original 1850 estate home.

A few highlights:

Victorian District.  The Doris Harris Waters Lichtenstein Victorian District, opened in summer 2008, stretches from the enclosed Victory (of Science over Ignorance) sculpture to the eastern wall, back to founder Henry Shaw’s original city townhouse. (Photo: The Doris Harris Waters Lichtenstein Victorian District, courtesy: Missouri Botanical Garden

Kemper GardenThe Kemper Center for Home Gardening provides education and resources for Midwestern home gardeners through partnership with University of Missouri Extension. There are 23 display residential-scale gardens, including a city garden; butterfly garden; secret garden; family vegetable garden; fragrance garden; ornamental displays for landscaping, lawns and shrubs; rock, shade and flower trial gardens; children’s garden; herb garden; garden for attracting birds; and  demonstration gardens.

Strassenfest German GardenThe Strassenfest German Garden features native flora of Germany and central Europe, in a woodland setting of herbaceous perennials, as well as deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs.

The Fragrance Garden features some of the best fragrance plants for the St. Louis area on display, including examples of shrub and antique roses.

The Children’s Garden is open Mar. 30 through Oct. 31 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

4344 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63110, (314) 577-5100. Open daily, closed Christmas Day.

Website: Missouri Botanical Garden

Dubuque: Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens at Marshall Park

Dubuque, Iowa


Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens at Marshall Park

Established in 1980, the Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens in Marshall Park is an all-volunteer effort.

The Arboretum itself showcases more than 60 genus (such as maples, oaks, crabapples, magnolias, birch) and, of those genus, there are more than 200 species and cultivars chosen for their ability to thrive within the Upper Midwest climate and soil conditions. There are also more than 360 conifers, ranging in size from 12 inches to 40- to 50-foot specimens.

The 52-acre site features a rose garden with more than 450 hybrid teas, grandifloras, floribundas, shrubs and climbing roses. There are also Knot, Herb, Perennials Gardens, and an English Garden.  There are more than 13,000 hostas of 700 varieties.

What’s Special

20101221_273-300x450-WThe Japanese garden has been planned and created under the guidance of Hoichi Kurisu, a master designer of Japanese gardens, to provide a place of peace and quiet contemplation by recreating the world in miniature, with elements of the natural world arranged to encourage relaxation and meditation throughout all seasons.

To better appreciate this beautiful garden, here are a few guides:

  • Stone lanterns point the way in the garden.
  • Vertical stone towers contrast with the horizontal aspects of the garden.
  • A Tsukubai (water basin) signifies ritual cleansing.
  • Water adds sound, life, reflection and beauty.
  • Rock signifies solidity, height, background, shape.

Most of all — Listen with your eyes and see with your ears. It’s the yin-yang of the garden accenting the two opposites.


Physical grounds open dawn to dusk, 365 days a year

Gift Shop and Library:

April – September: 9am to 8pm daily
October: 9am to 5pm, daily
November – March: Closed

3800 Arboretum Drive | Dubuque, Iowa 52001-1040

Phone: 563.556.2100

[ info ]

Chicago: Chicago Botanic Garden

English Walled Garden, Chicago Botanic Garden

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago Botanical Garden

The Chicago Botanic Garden is the second most-visited botanic garden of its size in the U.S., attracting more than one million visitors during 2013. While its 385 acres may seem like a lot to cover, from April to October there are tram tours for an enjoyable overview of the Garden’s highlights.

There are more than two dozen specialty garden areas, including a Children’s Growing Garden, Japanese Garden, Native Plant Garden, Rose Garden, and Waterfall Garden. Home landscape gardens are a source of inspiration for homeowners, demonstrating a variety of plantings that are most suitable. – including easy-to-grow for those of us with less than green thumbs.

What’s Special

English Walled Garden.  Designed by John Brooks, there are six garden rooms representing a variety of English garden design styles with plants best suited for the Midwest: a Cottage Garden, Vista Garden, Daisy Garden, Pergola Garden, Courtyard Garden and Checkerboard Garden. Plantings feature boxwood, catmint, clematis, foxglove, English lavender, roses, and yew.

Chicago Botanic Garden Model RailroadModel Railroad Garden. During the summer, the 7,500-square-foot Model Railroad Garden features fifteen trains—including the new Rock Island line, the Santa Fe Super Chief and a Napa Valley train—that travel through miniature scenes of America’s most treasured sites including a St. Louis Riverboat, a Midwestern farm, an old-fashioned main street and the Statue of Liberty.

Shoreline. Nearly one-quarter (81 acres) of the Garden is water. A 60-acre system of lakes winds throughout the gardens and research facilities, including the Great Basin, North Lake, and Skokie River Corridor, with about six miles of shoreline encircles the Garden’s lakes. It’s an excellent resource for erosion control and native plants recommended for shoreline habitats.

Birding. Approximately 255 species of birds have been sighted throughout the Garden. Good to know: April and May are when migratory songbirds are to be found.

Photo: Chicago Botanic Garden [ info ]


The Orchid Show February 15 – March 16, 2014


Admission is free, parking rates apply.

1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL 60022

(847) 835-5440

Chicago Botanic Garden photos

[ info ]

Ball Ground: Gibbs Gardens

Japanese Gardens near Atlanta _ Tsukiyama Gardens _ Gibbs GardensGibbs21742949_1176881825745284_3546084857162991717_n

Ball Ground, Georgia

Gibbs Gardens

Although classified as a botanical garden, Jim Gibbs tells visitors “it’s a pleasure garden, a feast for your senses.” Nestled in the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains are more than 220 acres of gardens developed by the Gibbs family. Jim Gibbs is the retired president and founder of one of Atlanta’s leading landscape companies. 16 garden venues, with the nation’s largest Japanese Gardens and Water Lily Gardens, as well as springs surrounded by millions of naturalized ferns and native azaleas, dogwoods, and mountain laurels. There’s always something in bloom – daffodil display, rhododendrons, the Hydrangea Garden, crape myrtle trees, roses, a wildflower meadow and much more. The Japanese Garden is truly spectacular!Open March 1 – November 30, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving day. [ info ]

Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden

Long Beach, California

Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden

“I have a dream for this garden. When a person is tired, or anxious, or in a quest of beauty, may they enter and come forth refreshed to meet the problems of the day.” Situated on the campus of California State University Long Beach, the 1.3 acre Hill and Pond Japanese-style garden was built through a donation from Mrs. Loraine Miller Collins in honor of her late husband Earl Burns Miller. The garden is a hybrid art form that combines typical elements of Japanese garden design within the context of its Southern California locationHours: Tuesday through Friday: 8:00 a.m to 3:30 p.m. Sunday: Noon to 4:00 p.m. Closed : Mondays and SaturdaysAdmission is FREE [ info ]

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Huntington Gardens

Chinese garden Huntingtoncgmain

Huntington, California

Huntington Gardens

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a research and educational center founded in 1919 by railroad and real estate magnate Henry E. Huntington. The renowned Huntington Library Collections houses among its treasures a Gutenberg Bible (ca. 1450–55); the Ellesmere manuscript of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales (ca. 1410); original letters of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Abraham Lincoln, as well as early editions of Shakespeare.

TripAdvisor recently ranked the Huntington Botanical Gardens as among the top 10 public gardens in the U.S. The Gardens began in 1903 when Henry Huntington purchased the San Marino Ranch. Huntington relied heavily on his superintendent, William Hertrich, to develop the plant collections.

Today there are about 120 landscaped acres and more than a dozen principal garden areas with more than 14,000 different varieties of plants open to visitors.

Featured gardens include: Desert, Japanese, Subtropical, Herb, Jungle, Palm and Rose Gardens, as well as one of the largest collections of camellias in the country.

HuntingtonchildgarddwgThe Helen and Peter Bing Children’s Garden has the themes earth, air, light, and water. Its interactive sculptural elements are sure to delight children, with based on, with a fog grotto, magnetic sand, pebble chimes, prism tunnel, and other attractions.

The Huntington’s Chinese Garden, the Garden of Flowing Fragrance, or Liu Fang Yuan, eventually will be one of the largest classical Chinese gardens outside China. The words liu fang, or “flowing fragrance,” refers to the scent of flowers and trees, including the pine, lotus, plum, and other native Chinese plants found here.

CGterracejadeAccording to the Huntington, “A Chinese garden can be compared to a scroll painting composed of carefully arranged scenes. . . As you stroll through its pathways and pavilions, new vistas are revealed as if a scroll were being slowly unrolled. In the garden, as in a painting, several key elements play an important part in creating balance and harmony in the composition.” In the garden, water symbolizes change and rocks, the eternal, combining to create harmony, balancing nature’s yin and yang.  Plants may represent the seasons (peach blossoms for spring, pine for winter), while others stand for attributes such as purity (lotus) or uprightness (bamboo).

Located near Pasadena in the city of San Marino. 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA  91108

Closed Tuesdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and Independence Day. [ info ]

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Birmingham Botanical Gardens

BirminghamCrape Myrtle
Birmingham,   Alabama

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Alabama’s oldest municipally owned garden, the 67.5 acre Birmingham Botanical Gardens is comprised of Gardens of Collections, Gardens of Nature and Gardens of Culture.
Gardens of Collections focus on a plant genus. Some of the gardens are the Abroms Rhododendron Garden, the Crape Myrtle Garden, Fern Glade, Hess Camellia Garden, Hosta Walk, Ireland Iris Garden, Jemison Lily Garden and the Dunn Formal Rose Garden.
As one of the Gardens of Nature, the 7.5-acre Japanese Garden features traditional components such as a tea garden, the meditative Karesansui garden, the hill and stream garden, and a stroll garden.
Other features include the largest clearspan greenhouse in Southeast, C. Beaty Hanna Horticulture & Environmental Center with plant diagnostic lab, restaurant, gift shop, tours.

Admission is free. Gardens open 365 days a year, dawn to dusk.[ info ]

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