The entire 336 acre property was first started back in 1980 by Mr. Gibbs. And to this day he remains active in the planning and design. Daily he and his wife blend in with the crowds to try and get a different perspective of their creation.
“I think it’s a beautiful garden because I designed it and I spent all of these years studying landscape architecture and horticulture,” he said. “But if you walk in a garden and become one of the visitors and just sort of stop and listen to what people say, it amazing how you can improve the visitation to a garden.”
Mr. Gibbs studied in Japan to understand what it takes to design an authentic Japanese garden. The three main elements he explains…stone, water and of course, plants.
“One is to be an authentic Japanese Garden, you want to have plantings that have texture and color,” said Mr. Gibbs. “Water is very important in a garden, a Japanese Garden especially, for reflections because the lanterns reflect in the garden, the Bonsai reflect in the water. Every stone in this garden is symbolic. Every stone is named. And what you have to do is search for those stones. It took me five years of searching five counties to find all the stones that went into this garden.”
The gardens are intentionally designed to have wandering, curving paths…on different levels of elevated grounds. Nothing here is by accident. And it’s that attention to detail that has thousands returning day after day.
“We have members from Chattanooga, we have them from Dalton, we have them from Cleveland, all of your area. It’s a short drive, come down it’s a destination garden. We want you to have fun and go back knowing that you saw something of beauty, something that was tranquil, and something you want to come back to again. And you will return to Gibbs Gardens.”