History

Hamilton Gardens was the gift of Hazel and Fred Hamilton to Towns County. The Hamilton's were collectors of both native azaleas and rhododendrons as well as propagators of both. Many of the plants located in the gardens are hybrids from their work. They traveled extensively and added to their collection whenever possible, and maintained two spectacular gardens, one in Atlanta and one in Towns County. As they got older and maintenance of the gardens became more challenging, Mr. Hamilton began searching in Towns County for a location large enough to house the plants from his gardens. The perfect spot was found on property donated by the Tennessee Valley Authority to Towns County to be used by the county as a park. The present location is what became known as Hamilton Gardens, and was planted in 1981 with an initial 1,091 plants, most of which were rhododendrons and native azaleas. Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton's only request was to maintain the gardens in perpetuity and to keep them open to the public.

Weddings and Rentals

Hamilton Gardens at Lake Chatuge is a beautiful place to be married. It provides stunning views of the lake, countryside and Brasstown Bald. The Gardens and the Pavilion have been a popular place for family reunions and corporate outings.

Review the Pavilion Rules and read the  Agreement.

Call 706-970-0011 to Reserve the Pavilion

Celebration Plaza

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The Celebration Plaza at Hamilton Gardens is the perfect spot to recognize special people in our lives. Located in front of the Paris Pavilion, the Plaza is easily accessible and enhances the gardens property. It provides a unique opportunity to support the gardens by offering these beautiful stones for custom engraving through our donation program. Having a stone engraved in the Celebration Plaza is a beautiful way to honor or remember family, friends and loved ones in perpetuity.

Download form here.

The Daffodil Project

The Daffodil Project is an international project which aspires to honor and remember the 1.5 million children who were murdered in the Holocaust. Hamilton Gardens is a part of this project and has planted 600 special daffodil bulbs in the Memorial Garden. The Dedication ceremony was held in the Spring of 2018.

Pollinator Garden Certified

In June of 2021, our hard-working employees and volunteers obtained proof that our pollinator garden has been officially certified by Monarchs Across Georgia.

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New Gazebo and Band Stand

Completed in May 2021 in time for our summer concert series, this is a great new addition to the Gardens. It can also be used for weddings, or just a place to sit and watch the sunset.


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Other things to see in the Gardens

There are many special areas in the Gardens. Our Spiral Herb Garden has now been planted; There are three "modern Art" pieces by Ron Salzer; for the kids, see if they can find the three large "bugs" and cattails from Greg Quick; Look carefully to see if you can see the wireframe Elephant ("Ellawassee") and "Oscar" the Octopus that are "hiding" back by the barn, watched over by a submarine periscope; The American Rhododendron Society has just started planting a new Native Azalea area, and volunteers have recently created more than 1/2 mile of new trails. We're continually thinking of new ideas and areas to develop, so stay tuned to see more places and things to look for as you tour our facility
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Serenity Sculpture
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8ft Preying Mantis
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"Ellawassee" the Elephant
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"Oscar" the Octopus
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Submarine watching "Oscar"

Bloom schedule - tentative

Late March - Daffodils are the first to bloom, then  wildflowers start to show in late March;  In early April the Native Azaleas start blooming;  Mid April sees hybrid rhododendron start;  Early - mid May will usually have most rhododendrons in bloom; Mountain Laurels, Day Lillies, Iris and other perennials show up after that.  When asked for the peak of color, we "generalize" that it's Mother's Day, plus or minus a week or so - depending on weather and the man upstairs.

Volunteer Opportunities

Have you ever thought about becoming a volunteer at a public garden, but weren’t sure this was for you? Hamilton Gardens at Lake Chatuge needs volunteers who might have an interest in being a part of the restoration and preservation of this historic landmark property. And we offer choices!

 "Hands On" gardens volunteers are those of you who like to dig in the dirt, pull weeds, don't mind getting dirty, and want to contribute to the true 'ground work' of maintaining a garden. You do not have to have to be a horticulturist, a Master Gardener, or have any special skills; just enjoy working outdoors and have a love for gardens.

 "Hands Off" garden volunteers are those who have a keen interest in supporting this endeavor, but have different skills to offer; such as website management, social media, grant writing, event planning, fundraising, tour guides, education, construction and repair, and writing articles and/or press releases. There is no shortage of non-gardening tasks which play a vital role in the continuing success of the Gardens.

 Volunteer Orientation: Required for all volunteers, regardless of the area you choose. It is held the first Friday of every month at the Paris Pavilion, 9 am in summer, 10 am in winter (winter months subject to cancellation, depending on weather). Reservation required, call 706-970-0011.

 Scheduled Workdays: Workdays are held year-round every first and third Friday, beginning at 9:00 am (summer) and 10:00 am (winter). Work as long as you choose. After your orientation, you may work in the Gardens anytime, on your own schedule. There is always a list of chores to be done! Contact us at 706-970-0011.

Join us and become a member of a great volunteer team which is truly making a difference in our community.

Sponsors

Sponsors

Linda & Gordy Jones

Wine Cottage

Bacchus Wine, Beer & Growler

Rotary Club of Lake Chatuge