The Fred Hamilton
Rhododendron Garden, Hiawassee, GA

Located within the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds in Hiawassee, this famous rhododendron garden is the largest in the state with approximately 400 varieties and 3,000 plants. Meandering pine bark trails wind their way through the garden overlooking Lake Chatuge. There is always some plant or tree in bloom during the spring: dogwoods, tulip magnolias, native azaleas, lady slippers, and trilliums in addition to the rhododendrons which bloom in the spring, summer, and early fall.

The garden is a result of the late Fred and Hazel Hamilton's long-standing love affair with rhododendrons which began in 1952 when they bought their first home in the Atlanta area and found native azaleas and rhododendrons on their property. Their interest grew after moving to Towns county and finding the woods full of azaleas, rhododendrons, and other wildflowers. The Hamiltons planted additional hybrids and generously opened their private garden. located off Hog Creek, to the public.

In 1982 the Hamiltons donated their garden to the Georgia Mountain Fair and more than 1,000 plants were relocated to the present site. The Hamiltons donated plants from their Atlanta home, and the Fair has added 100 new plants each year.

Through their vision and generosity and the Georgia Mountain Fair, the garden is appreciated and admired by many, and is open to the public year round free of charge.

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