In the early 1950s, Fred Hamilton, an executive of the Sears Roebuck Company, bought a home in the Atlanta area and was delighted to discover native plants, including rhododendron and azaleas, on the site. He and his wife Hazel later purchased a place in Towns County, Georgia near the “Hog Creek” community. There, they found more rhododendron and other wild native plants. This sparked their interest in creating a lush garden where they brought many other varieties of rhododendron from all over the world. The Hamiltons were happy to share the beauty of their gardens with others and invited visitors to tour the grounds.
As time went by and the gardens grew, caretakers were needed to help maintain them. Mr. Hamilton began to realize that he could no longer care for the gardens as he once did. He searched for a place to donate his extensive collection of rhododendrons, where the conditions were right and the soil conducive to their growth. Tests were done and a compatible soil was discovered at the grounds of the Georgia Mountain Fair. In 1982, Mr. Hamilton generously donated his collection to the Fair, and they were transplanted in an area where they could be cared for and appreciated by thousands of visitors yearly.
While every day is a special event in the Hamilton Gardens, peak viewing season usually occurs in the middle of April through the last of May. The Gardens are open year round. The Garden staff maintains the plants and the gentle walking trails throughout the garden.