HISTORY OF THE GARDEN
In June of 1998, Philip M. Adams rendered a rough design of a botanical garden for his post graduate thesis project. Months later, the George M. Adams family set aside about 20 acres for the creation of a botanical garden. This was the beginning of the conception of the Columbus Botanical Garden. In 1999, the Columbus City Council officially approved its development.
From its’ founding in 1999, the Columbus Botanical Garden (CBG) has been a steward of a 20 acre rolling property located about 6 miles northeast of downtown Columbus (*property has now grown to 36 acres, 4 of which are developed with a 10 year plan for more development). This preserved jewel of pine and hardwood forest is a remnant reminder of the native central Georgia landscape that is becoming more scarce as the region continues to develop.
Throughout 1999 and the first half of 2000, the Adam’s farmhouse, barns, and other out buildings were moved from the current Lowe’s location on Veteran’s Parkway to the Garden. At the end of 2001, the Adam’s family donated $150,000 to start the first part of the project. Local landscape designer Mary Florence Benson created the original landscape plans, the community was introduced to the Garden, and on April 30, 2004, the Columbus Botanical Garden was officially dedicated.
Nicole Sanchez joined the Garden in 2007 to serve as its first Executive Director. Nicole implemented educational programs and continued the development and progress of the Garden. In 2008, a Gin House was moved to the property, serving as a unique facility for a variety of events and classes. Also, the herb garden was renovated with help from the students in the Horticulture program at Columbus Tech. Around this same time, local landscape architect Gary Gullatte designed the Joann Holt Walking Trail which opened later that year.
2009 saw continued improvements and renovations throughout the Garden. A well was successfully drilled near the walking trail and irrigation was also installed along the trail.
In 2013, the first garden was added along the Joann Holt Walking Trail – The Sam M. Wellborn Camellia Garden. Shortly after, in early 2014, Matt Whiddon joined the Garden as Executive Director. Matt’s hiring triggered renewed optimism and momentum leading to the following:
- Hiring of architectural firm Studio Outside to complete new 10 Year Master Plan
- Installation of new Event Lawn and Garden between main parking lot and Gin House
- Expansion of the Sam M. Wellborn Camellia Garden, including companion plants and a spectacular fountain
- Increased offerings in Children’s Education thanks to a partnership with Historic Columbus and the Columbus Museum
- Community Partners program, creating additional partnerships with Rivercenter and the Springer
- An emphasis on additional annual and perennial plantings that provide color year-round
- Increased support from donors and corporate sponsors
- The addition of Vegetable Terraces and a Rose Garden
- Increased offerings for Rentals and Events
2018 saw the hiring of new Executive Director Stefan Bloodworth. Stefan’s resume features twenty-five years of landscape design experience, including sixteen years as the Curator of the Blomquist Garden of Southeastern Native Plants at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens at Duke University. Stefan’s focus since arriving has been the continued development of the garden’s ten-year master plan, the hiring of a full garden staff, the completion of a ten-million dollar capital campaign, and the introduction of environmental standards for the garden featuring a focus on plant conservation and sustainable architecture.
The future is bright as we look in the coming years to projects such as the renovation of the Gin house into an educational facility and the development of a Children’s Garden. Upon your visit, be sure to take a look at our master plan, which is displayed in the Adam’s farmhouse for a complete overview of what is to come.