Stop and Smell the Roses

Secret Gardens of Johns Creek, May 12

In the planning stages since 2017, Johns Creek Beautification wanted to develop and hold an annual fundraiser that would be new to Johns Creek, while showcasing private gardens and outdoor spaces of several city residents. Proceeds from this tour would be specifically earmarked for the purchase of public art as well as landscape enhancements and maintenance throughout Johns Creek. The Secret Gardens of Johns Creek was born, featuring beautiful and enchanting gardens. This year, the tour is May 12.

After exploring many gardens, the tour committee put together an exceptional group of eight homes located in subdivisions including Thornhill, Prestwick, Oxford Mill, and Cameron Forest. The homeowners are all devoted gardeners who have spent years perfecting their plantings and designs. As a result, tour visitors will enjoy the beautiful landscapes, koi ponds, sculptures, and just a little bit of whimsy. Meandering pathways lead to waterfalls. Formal as well as innovative garden designs are on display. Multitudes of perennials and hardwoods await, including hydrangeas, azaleas, ferns, boxwoods, and Japanese maples. These Johns Creek gardeners have created settings that feature outdoor dining and entertaining spaces, with eye-catching accents like like bespoke garden gates and outdoor art installations. Docents and volunteers will help guide the way with demonstrations and live music completing the scene at each garden spot. 

For most gardeners and homeowners, their garden is a journey that has evolved over time. It’s fascinating to speak with them and hear about what influenced their direction and garden design. Some evolved organically, some landscaping was planned, and some grew from much research and investigation. David and Karen Bishop readily admit their garden has been a labor of love that has evolved over 30 years. Both are artists and avid travelers. David said that their garden is, an outgrowth of those influences, and in particular, their love of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the Southwest. He is a sculptor, and has been able to weave those pieces throughout the gardens. Karen attests to these influences, and says that, their property is like a sanctuary to them. It was a blank slate when their built their home 30 years ago, and they planted everything.

Sally Copeland’s garden is another stop on the tour. She and her husband also built their home 30 years ago, and have endeavored to make both home and gardens authentic Williamsburg in both style and content. A work in progress, she continues to research all the aspects of traditional 18th century gardening and incorporate that into the design plan. Situated on 5 acres, there are boxwood formations, flowering trees, plantings, and even authentic brick walkways – the same brick used in actual Williamsburg restorations. But the key element for Sally is the 150 year old live oak on the property. “It was the first thing that caught my eye, and pretty much convinced me about building on this spot,” said Sally. Ultimately, for Sally it’s all about the ongoing projects and the beauty each time she looks over her gardens. “I’m always amazed at what’s blooming each year.” And she’s been saying that for nearly three decades.

If you go:

Self-guided tour, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM, rain or shine. Tour Passes $25.

Limited number of passes available, go to Receipt will provide the locations of each garden. Passes non-refundable. 

Questions? Email, or call 470-655-6559.

Johns Creek Beautification is a (501)(c)(3) Georgia nonprofit.