Discovering Smith-Gilbert Gardens in Kennesaw, Georgia

Discovering Smith-Gilbert Gardens in Kennesaw, Georgia

This is the first in a series of infrequent articles that will spotlight Hidden Treasures within a city that are usually overlooked by the locals. We will be searching for some of the best little-known secrets from every city imaginable. Lean closer and tell me what’s special about yours…….

Life is always full of surprises. Sometimes we can’t see the trees for the forest because we’re so invested in the big picture instead of looking a little closer at what’s in front of us. I’d been making big plans to visit a renowned local botanical garden, Callaway Gardens, which was located roughly 120 miles away. Being a total garden nut, nothing would please me more than to visit a botanical garden that’s a little closer to home for once.  Just by happenstance, I discovered the existence of one that was located a mere 15 miles away in Kennesaw, Georgia. Smith-Gilbert Gardens sits on 16 lush acres of fertile southern soil. Founded in 1970 by Richard Smith and Robert Gilbert, their initial intention was to purchase the historic Hiram Butler House (circa 1882) to settle in but decided to develop the expansive property to accommodate their new-found avian friends.

Eventually, it became larger than life and over time more varied plant life was added to the landscape. Today, several thousand plant species surround the house along with 30 sculptures that are carefully positioned throughout.  Dr. Gilbert’s horticultural interests were in trees, shrubs and other woody plants while Mr. Smith enjoyed perennials and rock gardens.  Each part of the garden is segmented by plant type and the plants have signs that list its botanical name as well as the year it was planted which can give the visitor an idea about growth rates in this region.  From its Cedar field, rose, rock, bonsai, camellia, shade and perennial gardens, Smith Gilbert has something special for everyone and is well worth the visit.  What Hometown treasures have you discovered that took you by surprise?

Still, I am quite surprised that a city whose only true claim to fame was in requiring its residents to own guns, would have something so unexpected within its city limits. Hey! Maybe I should have named this article Garden and Gun….that’s pretty unique….I’m sure no one would have thought….to…….uh….never mind.

Except on holidays, the Gardens are open year round Monday through Saturday 9 AM to 4 PM and Sunday 11 AM to 4 PM. Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and active military, $5 for children 6 — 12, children 5 and under are free. Memberships are available.  The Gardens are located at 2382 Pine Mountain Road, Kennesaw, GA 30152, off of Cobb Parkway.



Renee King
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  • Laurel
    Posted at 10:33h, 16 May Reply

    What a wonderful idea for a new series Renee, I love it. Beautiful flowers, and seriously a “Garden & Gun” magazine?

    • Renee
      Posted at 18:20h, 16 May Reply

      Thanks, Laurel….yes, there is actually a Garden and Gun magazine….lol!

  • Debbie Beardsley
    Posted at 13:55h, 16 May Reply

    This garden looks beautiful! I find gardens to be very serene and peaceful.

    Good luck on your new series. It sounds like a great idea.

    • Renee
      Posted at 20:26h, 16 May Reply

      Thanks, Debbie! I appreciate your support.

  • Sherryl Perry
    Posted at 21:10h, 16 May Reply

    Gorgeous photos Renee. My husband and I love botanical gardens. The next time we’re headed down South, we’ll have to plan on visiting Callaway Gardens. I’m sure my husband would want to photograph this too.

  • Susan Oakes
    Posted at 21:20h, 16 May Reply

    What a great idea Renee showing hidden treasures. Your descriptions actually makes me feel as if I am there walking around the gardens.

  • jade
    Posted at 22:57h, 16 May Reply

    Great new series- i love discovering these gems in our city, too. And, fantastic photos!

  • John in France
    Posted at 23:06h, 16 May Reply

    I have a theory about tourist who just visit those places that are “on the circuit”, but there are so many others equally deserving, and you have captured this here.

  • Scott - Quirky Travel Guy
    Posted at 23:08h, 16 May Reply

    Hidden Treasures – great idea. There’s so much even here in Chicago that I have yet to see. You really can find awesome stuff anywhere!

    • Renee
      Posted at 16:10h, 17 May Reply

      So true and sometimes those are the best places to visit….off the beaten path.

  • Dennis Salvatier
    Posted at 00:24h, 17 May Reply

    Wow this place is really beautiful. I’ve never been to Georgia, but I’m working with someone who is from savannah. I’ll be sure to mention this when I see her tomorrow.

    • Renee
      Posted at 16:09h, 17 May Reply

      Thanks, Dennis….please do!

  • Jeremy Branham
    Posted at 10:58h, 17 May Reply

    Beautiful gardens! Reminds me of Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC! Perfect time of year to visit!

    • Renee
      Posted at 16:09h, 17 May Reply

      That’s my one regret when I visited Vancouver….I skipped Butchart…..darn it!

  • Christy
    Posted at 15:41h, 17 May Reply

    So many beautiful photos, Renee! 🙂

    • Renee
      Posted at 16:09h, 17 May Reply

      Thanks, Christy!

  • The Travel Chica
    Posted at 16:40h, 17 May Reply

    I love the ‘Hidden Treasures’ idea. I look forward to reading about more of your discoveries. If only we could find a list of the hidden treasures every place we visit.

    • Renee
      Posted at 18:53h, 17 May Reply

      Thanks, Stephanie! Of course, I’m not above soliciting you guys for ideas about your own hidden gems. Feel free to email me!

  • Sophie
    Posted at 17:23h, 17 May Reply

    Sounds like a wonderful hideout; I can almost smell those roses.
    (PS IS there a magazine called Garden and Gun? Seriously?)

    • Renee
      Posted at 18:45h, 17 May Reply

      Yes, Sophie….that is a REAL magazine!! Thanks for dropping by!

  • Michael Figueiredo
    Posted at 21:52h, 18 May Reply

    Beautiful photography! I love the idea for “hidden treasures” too…. I look forward to the next edition 🙂

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