A Magical Experience Awaits at Gibbs Gardens’ Japanese Garden

A Magical Experience Awaits at Gibbs Gardens’ Japanese Garden

Experience the exotic lure of a traditional Japanese Garden without leaving the country.

Gibbs Gardens’ “Tsukiyama,” a Japanese hill-and-pond stroll garden—encompassing more than 40 acres with seven ponds—is believed to be the largest Japanese Garden in the nation.

Inspired by his travels in Japan, Jim Gibbs, the owner/developer of Gibbs Gardens, started building his Japanese Garden in 1988—he didn’t stop until he had created an inspiring, living work of art.

“The Japanese garden is a balance of natural and man-made beauty, a garden of meditation that delights the senses, challenges the soul and for many is a spiritual experience,” explained Gibbs.

The spacious garden—with its subtle design, awesome views, natural beauty and carved stone artistry—evokes the sense of serenity, age and character found in ancient Japanese Gardens. Visitors say they sense the venerability of this special place, the respect for tradition as they enter the four-season garden through the Torii Gate then follow the meandering path for a gentle walk around spring-fed ponds.

Designed to inspire meditation, the Japanese Garden is filled with ancient symbolism. Everything has meaning from the size and shape of stones—some signifying happiness and good fortune—to the ZigZag Bridge built with three turns to trick evil spirits.

Gibbs’ collection of 40 Japanese stone lanterns—hand-carved by Japanese traditional artisans—is placed around the garden in anticipation of a tea ceremony. Several Japanese pagodas are positioned throughout the gardens; one is flanked by two hand-carved stone kirin, a mythical creature with dragon heads, lion tails, hoofs of a bull and a fish-scale body.

More than 170 varieties of plantings—from ground cover and perennials to vines, shrubs and trees—create a magnificent, but subtly changing, living balance to the traditional man-made Japanese elements. In fall thousands of Japanese maples of every size, shade and variety steal the show with a vibrant display of red, orange, amber and burgundy color. Southern Living magazine featured the spectacular display in “Light Up the Lands,” a four full-page spread of photos and copy. (Nov. 2013)

A visit to Gibbs Gardens‘ “Tsukiyama,” is an unforgettable experience.