Located in Athens, The State Botanical Garden of Georgia is 313-acre preserve founded by the University of Georgia to encourage and retain understanding and appreciation of plants and nature in general. The gardens offer collections and displays, horticultural gardens, and educational programs for visitors. The diversity of Georgia’s flora, due to various climatic zones and soil types in the state, allow for a wide range of species to grow, and many of them can be found at the botanical gardens. The State Botanical Garden is considered young, even though it manages to cover a lot of ground, and a number of new gardens are being proposed or are in the making.

There are currently eight distinct gardens here:

The International Garden: Pays homage to several plant hunters who had significant influences in the South. This garden also exhibits the influences of three eras which were important for botanical garden evolution; The Middle Ages, The Age of Exploration and The Age of Conservation.

The Shade Garden: Features seven sections named for the seven Districts of The Garden Club of Georgia, which donated greatly during the renovation of the garden in 1998. Numerous shade-loving species can be found here.

The Native Flora Garden: Contains ferns, trilliums, lady slipper orchids, and these are just a few of the more than 300 species found in this garden. It was established in honor of Linton Reese Dunson Sr., a conservation agronomist.

The Trial Garden: A collection of shrubs and trees meant for evaluating their adaptability to the southeastern U.S. Several species of Chinese origin have proven adaptable in the southeastern U.S. Georgia's state flower, the Cherokee rose, is a prime example.

The Rose Garden: Features a variety of roses including all major classes including multiflora, grandiflora, hybrid tea, as well as a number of "antique" roses. This garden was established in 1975 by an endowment.

The Annual/Perennial Garden: Considered one of the most colorful gardens here, this garden is most attractive when the summer annuals peak. The winter annuals and the herbaceous perennials are available for viewing throughout the year. There is a an area devoted to children's gardening, which provides a place for hands-on learning.

The Rhododendron Collection: Contains showy flowers, ranging in color from white to bright red. Most varieties bloom during the spring, primarily in April or May. The Rhododendron Collection was founded in 1976 by way of a gift from the Athens Garden Club.

The Dahlia Garden: Includes plenty of dahlia types. Dahlias are native to Central and South America, but can be grown everywhere. They have been extensively hybridized; virtually hundreds of varieties now exist.

There are a ton of trails at the botanical gardens optimal for jogging and taking peaceful walks. Fountains and statues pepper every section, and the entire place is surrounded by Oconee River. I have come here to jog and take walks with friends, and I very much enjoy it. There is also a visitors center, a café, and two chapels which are popular for weddings.

The hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the fall and winter, and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the spring and summer. They are located at 2450 South Milledge Avenue. From Atlanta take 85 North to 316, take 316 to Atlanta Hwy. in Athens, take Atlanta Hwy to Milledge and take a right onto Milledge, then follow that street all the way to the gardens, which would be located on your right.

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