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The Jim Scott Garden, a Secret Paradise

It takes a good GPS system and some nerve to find the Jim Scott garden, down a plunging, twisting dirt road on Lake Martin in central Alabama. However, at the end of the harrowing drive, a paradise waits, removed from the world. Enter the gate, and you are welcomed into a land of whimsy and magical beauty. It has taken Jim Scott nearly twenty years to create this masterpiece. It is a private retreat for his family and friends, but Mr. Scott also opens it to the public at various times through the year.

You must savor the journey as you explore the secret paths and private niches within this stroll garden. There are multiple levels with elevated bridges and streams and waterfalls throughout. Take your time; walk too fast, and you will miss something wonderful. There are many seating areas placed so that people can relax and enjoy the vistas through the trees and over the lake. It is a playful garden, for the young and the young-at-heart.

A team of five caretakers works full time to maintain this botanical wonder. When I visited, everything was perfect, healthy, weed-free and gorgeous. Here is a sampling of the photos I took of Jim Scott's unforgettable garden. This post is longer than my usual posts, but I hope you can take time to appreciate the details.  

A winding path around huge boulders and across a little stream leads to an amazing wine cellar.

This is the entrance to a secret cave behind a waterfall.

I hope you enjoyed the tour! You may want to look at this post more than once to take it all in; I am already planning another visit to Jim Scott's garden!

Addendum: Thanks goes to commenter Linda, http://southernruralroute.wordpress.com, who found this wonderful short video about Mr. Scott and his garden, Absolutely Alabama Story Jim Scott - YouTube. The video really brings his garden to life!

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Reader Comments (22)

Very nice. I like the statuary and the oakleaf hydrangeas.

Is that jasmine in the 5th (?) photo next to the statuesque head?

And any idea on the yellow-flowering plant in one of the early pics (next to the purple clematis and the stone stairway)?

May 22, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAaron Dalton

Hi Aaron, absolutely nothing was labeled, so I can't be certain, but I think that probably is some type of jasmine. I suspect the yellow flower is a lantana. Have a great week! Deb

May 22, 2016 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

I have always wanted to see this garden!

May 22, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPhillip

What a beautiful setting for a garden! Clearly a labor of love over the years. I loved the lake views and all the water features.

May 22, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKris P

A grand, beautiful garden with tasteful whimsical touches! Really enjoyed it!

May 23, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMark and Gaz

So lovely, Deb! Thank you for sharing!

Not long ago I read an article in a magazine about his garden. It is a fabulous place. I really like seeing your impressions of this garden. It is one that a person would like to visit again and again.

May 23, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLisa at Greenbow

Love that garden and loved your pics.

May 23, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLinda T.

Seems like a place you could enjoy exploring all day.
Yellow flower looks like Lantana to me too.

May 23, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDiana Studer

I took my time going through all the images. It really is a beautiful place with many interesting things to see and explore. The structures are of interest to me.

May 23, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

Thank you for taking me to this garden, a beautiful place.

May 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

I was so curious about Jim Scott that I went searching further on the web and found a very informative video that answered a lot of questions I had as I was scrolling through your photos. http://www.wbrc.com/Clip/8881257/absolutely-alabama-jim-scotts-garden

May 25, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Jones

I enjoyed the tour very much! What a fantastic garden. I love the stream, the arches and gates and the bridge, the waterfalls and the grotto! As you say, it seems to be a whole world unto itself.

May 25, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJason

Hi Everyone! I am glad you all enjoyed seeing a sampling of the Jim Scott garden. Linda Jones, thank you so much for the link to the video. I enjoyed it so much I have attached it as an addendum at the end of the post. I also included a link to your web site. Thanks again to all of you for your comments! Deb

May 25, 2016 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

Deb - Squarespace sent me your comment via email. I sent an email out to gardening friends and a portion of our 200+ garden club members. I included a link to your site and the video. I don't know if this increased your traffic or not but I've got numerous comments about the video. One garden club gal said "'Harmless pursuit' is what he said, WOW!!!!!! The water (walk-way) waterfall, and so on....Words would not be able to express the beauty and incredible place just to visit not to mention to call home." NONE of us would know about this incredible garden if you hadn't shared your photo tour with us. Thanks so much!!!

May 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Jones

Wowzers!! What an incredible garden!! Lucky you to have been able to visit! Love the hidden wine cellar and waterfall.

May 28, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCasa Mariposa

Wow! Such an amazing garden!

May 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

I was so excited Deb to see that you had posted about this garden. I remember a number of years ago it was on that HGTV show with Erica Glasener I believe, and I was completely stunned by it. It must have been so fantastic to visit and see all these amazing features. He is such a talented man to create this wonderland and yet to have it all blend in so seamlessly into the environment. Can you imagine being one of his grandchildren and getting to play in this beautiful environment?! Cant imagine anything more amazing! Thank you for sharing this.
- Kate x

May 31, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKate R

When is it open to public?

February 25, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKim

How do we find out when it is open to the public?

February 27, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLisa B

Would you email me how to get in touch with him. I would love to go and visit his garden .

February 28, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLuba

Hello everyone! Kim, Lisa, and Luba, this is a private garden, so it is closed parts of the year. However, it is open in spring and fall. I am not sure about winter. I will email you and anyone else who is interested the contact info. Thanks! Deb

March 2, 2017 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

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