Hamilton Gardens On Lake Chatuge

Photo by me, September 2017.

In the garden more grows than the gardener sows. - Spanish proverb.

So on a warm September day I came to this small garden in Hiawassee, Georgia to walk and see what grew and what was in bloom. I expected not to find much in bloom knowing this garden is at its most showy in the spring. My expectation was met but even walking the wooded path next to the water was enough to enjoy.

Hamilton Gardens is a small garden tended to by volunteers pocketed into a spot next to the Georgia Mountain Fair, a lodge and on the banks of Lake Chatuge.

Lake Chatuge with its fancy sounding name is in the far reaches of North Georgia and as the water recognizes no artificial line on a map it covers portions of North Carolina too. Chatuge was created in the early 1940s to control flooding and to produce emergency power during wartime operations in World War Two. The fancy name it bears I had often wondered if it were French but like many places in these mountains it is named after a Cherokee Indian village that had been there.

Lake Chatuge at the bottom of the hill. Photo by me, September 2017.
Wandering the paths. September 2017.

The paths through the garden make a loop and crisscross it too in the shady forest. The paths lined with benches, a gazebo and a boardwalk must be very beautiful in the spring with all of the rhododendron blooming. In a shady mountain garden such as this it is difficult to find many plants that will produce spectacular blooms.

An azalea bloom. Photo by me, September 2017.

In a more sunny spot in the garden it gave me a surprise in the form of an azalea that was blooming way out of season. I have never seen an azalea blooming in September as these are plants that bloom early in the spring. The azalea must have gotten confused by the erratic weather.

Hints of fall color. Photo by me, September 2017.

Early fall colors in the form of the dogwood leaves turning red. There are nice views to be had in this garden even when there is very little in bloom.

This garden came to life in 1982 when a retired executive from Atlanta, Fred Hamilton, donated his collection of rhododendron and azaleas to start it. He had become a plant breeder and developed the domestic yellow azalea which is named after his wife Hazel. His donation of 1,000 rhododendron were moved to this site from his own personal garden.

Photo by me, September 2017.

I walked along through the shade and spots of sun looking at the still waters of Lake Chatuge thinking I'll have to see this garden again one spring.

Photo by me, September 2017.

I love gardens because of my late mother. She loved her flowers like children and I would always be right along side her as a child tending them with her. Maybe she knew that in the garden she also was growing a love of flowers and nature in me too.

Some music for sitting and contemplating what grows in your own garden.