Not long after moving back to Atlanta from LA, I ran into a friend at the grocery store; one I hadn’t seen since High School. I asked what he was up to and he said he was a landscaper. Now I had done my share of lawns back in the day, but I never imagined turning it into a real business. We went to the type of upper-middle-class school that turned kids into accountants, doctors, lawyers, or white-collar criminals, not landscapers.
But the explosion of new sub-divisions around Atlanta since the ‘80’s has created some unusual success stories: Tradesmen who moved here from other depressed cities, with just a tool-belt to their name who now run multi-million-dollar construction businesses. I know a guy who banged shingles on roofs in Michigan, moved to Atlanta and started his own roofing company. He now has a King Air jet with 8 seats to take him to his homes in Florida and Montana.
So when Alex found Gibbs Gardens I wasn’t too surprised that it was owned and operated by a landscaper and his family. This was back in the spring when Atlanta comes alive with blooming plants like a time-lapse fireworks show: The whites of dogwoods, the reds of azaleas, the yellows of daffodils.
I don’t know who counted, but Gibbs Gardens claims they have 20 million daffodils. Whether it’s 20 million, or 20 thousand, it’s a pretty impressive sight. In fact, the entire place is worth the price of admission (about $20 each, if memory serves). There’s a Monet’s garden pond with an arched bridge, Japanese garden, and wooded trails that lead to many more. They even have trams to move people from site to site. It’s like a flora-Disney.
If I’d have known there was so much money in landscaping, maybe I’d have reinvested some of that cash I made cutting lawns as a kid into a fleet of lawnmowers. But then I’d probably never have started my own valet parking service, which come to think of could of been another one of those scrappy Atlanta success stories had I not moved on to “more important” things.
Hindsight is full of unseen blooms.