The dedication of the Garden for Peace on the grounds of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia on September 5, 2002 was significant for several reasons. First was the compatibility of the missions of both groups in regard to the value of gardens was for educational, research, and public service programs and the importance of gardens simply as places of solitude, retreat, and reflection.
Secondly, the dedication ceremony coincided with the dedication of the Freedom Plaza- a tribute to those who have lost their lives in defense of our nation’s freedom. Appropriately, the plaza features a life-size bronze sculpture of a young girl releasing a dove, entitled “Peace”. And lastly, the idea for the garden, which came from longtime supporter Norma Ogden Greer, whose family connections with this area of Georgia inspired her to make the donation in support of the garden designation.
The State Botanical Garden of Georgia is a 313-acre preserve set aside by the University of Georgia to foster appreciation, understanding, and stewardship of plants and nature through collections and displays, horticultural gardens, educational programs, and research. Created in 2002, the area is considered a “living laboratory”, featuring the diverse flora of the state along aproximately five miles of winding nature trails with theme gardens and a conservatory.
The area designated as a Garden for Peace lies between the Heritage Garden and the International Garden. The Heritage Garden, uphill from the International Garden, includes plants of historic interest including heirloom annuals, perennials, and antique roses as well as fruit crops like apples and peaches and row crops such as cotton, tobacco, and peanuts; and a selection of plants native to Georgia.
The International Garden, which reflects the interrelationship between people and plants through the ages, pays homage to plan hunters whose work influences the American South. It includes eleven botanical and horticultural collections depicting three eras that significantly influenced the evolution of botanical gardens-the Middle Ages, the Age of Exploration, and the Age of Conservation. A stream from a nearby wall fountain flows through a series of pools into a larger pool where the water is recirculated.
While education is the Garden’s primary focus, visitors come year-round to enjoy the trails, natural areas, and experience the beauty of nature.