Tiptoe through the tulips...and the daffodils and the peonies in Atlanta


Is there anything more fantastic than frolicking through fields of flowers? Blooming buds push open their velvety petals to us every spring in more colors than our favorite nail polish brand. Natures petal palette runs the gamut from the most delicate whites to intoxicating reds and soulful blues. It's a beautiful day when we awaken on that first spring morning when the flowers have magically pushed up in our neighbor's garden or by the roadsides of our daily commute.
It's impossible not to see thousands of spring flowers in Atlanta just by following your usual routine. However, there are a few special places where your senses can go into overdrive amidst fragrant, lovely, colorful flower bounty.

The Carter Center
Rose and rose budsWestersoe via Getty Images

The Carter Center is the namesake of former President Carter and just minutes from downtown Atlanta. The wow factor hits you immediately at the entryway with a fountain and colorful flower beds. Your nose will guide you to the remarkable rose gardens, which boast over 40 varieties of the sweet-smelling buds. Master Gardener Kinsaku Nakane designed the exquisite Japanese garden where you will find azaleas, rhododendrons and camellia bushes. A sense of calm will prevail as you stroll amongst the wildflowers in the Native Oak Forest and the seasonal flowerbeds in the Sundial. If the thought of leaving all this beauty sends you spiraling into despair, you are in luck. 3 Porch Farm sells bouquets of their beautiful freshly cut flowers every Saturday at the Freedom Farmers Market at the Center.

Oakland Cemetery
Oakland Cemetery is not just a historical marker of fallen civil war heroes; it is also a beloved park for Atlanta residents. The first sign of spring in Atlanta just may be the thousands of blooming heirloom daffodils in the park. The display is so stunning that the park has set aside a yearly event known as Daffodil Day. However, colorful displays of beauty grace the park in summer and fall as well. The park is open daily from dusk to dawn offering a peaceful respite from the daily stresses of city living.

Gibbs Gardens
Flickr/JR P

If you are in the mood for a short day trip, then drive one-hour north to Gibbs Garden. As a child, Jim Gibbs was fascinated by the gardens of the matriarchs in his family. This fascination led to a dream prompting him to spend years traveling and researching gardens while on the quest for the perfect plot of land. His desire to build a magnificent garden came to fruition when he discovered the 292 acres that are now Gibbs Gardens. It will take you a full day to explore the entire property. Acres of rhododendron and hydrangeas, as well as bridges and a fish pool, are in the Manor House Gardens. The Valley Gardens are more expansive with day lily, rose daffodil and water lily gardens, as well as a soothing Japanese garden. Inhale the sweet aromatic air as you search for the perfect place to sit back and enjoy the view. Pack a picnic or dine at the café on the property.

Callaway Gardens
If you love beauty and adventure, then a drive to Callaway Gardens may be the perfect outing on a lovely spring or summer afternoon. Alternatively, pack a bag and bring the family for a weekend. There are plenty of activities that will keep you on the move in this park, especially during the "Celebrate Spring" events. Do you love azaleas? If so, you will be delighted to see the extravaganza of over 20,000 native and cultivated azalea bushes. Every hue of purple, pink and red will dazzle your senses. However, it doesn't stop there. The park offers fun events ranging from hot air balloon rides to wine tastings to zip-lines.

These beautiful parks are just a sampling of the blooming wonders that you can feast your eyes upon in and near Atlanta. Of course, a lovely spring day can also begin right downtown at Atlanta Botanical Garden. Don't stay inside another minute; toss off the covers or turn off the computer and dive head first into the joy of spring.

Meeka Anne is revisiting her childhood stomping grounds in Atlanta where she grew up. She writes for several lifestyle magazines and has authored two books.