Rock Garden – A hidden treasure close to metro-Atlanta

He goes by the name “Old Dog…as in one who is faithful to his master. Old Dog is the kind of creative model parent that invented games to play with his kids.   One the favorite games was to pretend each was ruler of their own country. Each kid would have their own currency and treasures (which might be candies or random objects). The kids would travel to each other’s countries and barter for goods. Old Dog was always the Emperor of China. Old Dog’s kids are now parents of their own. He has continued this family tradition with his grandkids. Except, for this generation, he has taken the game to a whole new level. He built an extraordinary fantasy world with elaborate buildings made from pebbles and gems.

“To really understand the Rock Garden, you have to understand the game behind it.” Said Old Dog.

Rock Garden

In addition to the acre of beautiful flowers and greenery in “The Garden,” there is the must-see Folk Art, consisting of more than 50 diminutive buildings. The structures, all crafted from tiny stones, pebbles, shells, odd pieces of broken glass, and china, rocks, ceramic tile, cement, wire and other materials, are designed to imitate their larger counterparts. There are wee-sized churches, houses, castles, a monastery, cathedrals such as a structure modeled after the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, France, with stained-glass windows; and minikin porcelain figures of people and animals, some as small as two inches

1411 Rome Road
Calhoun, GA 30701

Located directly behind a church
Open daily 8AM – 7PM
Free to the public

It was a truly unique experience to visit this garden this summer with my mother and children. I haven’t experienced a place this serene since I visited the Children’s Park in Tyler Texas with park board members Sandi and Lisa.

The small size of the garden actually makes it more enjoyable because it is easy to keep track of the kids. They each immediately wanted to go in their own directions to discover this place unlike any other they had seen. My sensory sensitive child was in overdrive mode but in a delighted way. It was truly exciting to all of us to explore this wonderland. A friend who told me about this park said she brought Barbie dolls and action figures for her child to play with around the rock buildings. They played for hours.

Be advised that all areas of this amazing work of art are not wheel chair or stroller accessible; however, it is manageable to reach much of it. It is well shaded. You may want some bug spray though. There is a lovely table and bench in the middle to sit and enjoy the serenity of the setting.

I had the great privilege to talk with Old Dog on our visit.  I gushed over how I was so impressed and inspired by the intricate details of the rock castles and buildings. I would love to have some like them in the Children’s Park of Georgia. They would be perfect in the “Coming Home” section of the Spring quadrant design. He was so receptive to the idea and said when we were ready, he would come show us how to build them. I was ecstatic. I had been holding off on specifying the monuments and details for that section because we just hadn’t found something special enough. This was it!

Just like the Rock Garden is much more than a pretty setting, so is the vision for the Children’s Park of Georgia. Upon visiting, people will find it to be a beautiful and peaceful space to recharge. Yet, a closer look will engage the heart and mind to see that it is so much more. Every detail from stones and monuments down to plant selection will celebrate the lives of children and the stories of families who love them.

Have you discovered a favorite garden or place that speaks to your heart? It doesn’t have to be close by. Please share in the comments below.


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