A privately owned and operated garden and home in Kalispell, Bibler Gardens was designed by Louis A. “Sam” Bibler.
You won’t find articles in history books or plastered across the internet about this man – he’s not famous in the usual sense. Rather, the gardens and home are unusual, and beautiful, and come from the mind of Bibler, a petroleum geologist, community volunteer and collector, and a World War II B-17 bombardier.
Important Details for Bibler Gardens
The Bibler Home and Gardens remains privately owned and operated today. You must contact the home beforehand to arrange for a visit during the limited season.
- Location: 350 Lake Hills Dr, Kalispell, MT 59901
- Website: https://biblergardens.org/
- Open Hours: Set hours for events only
- Self-Guided Tour Hours: 4:30 pm or 6:30 pm
- Private Tour Hours: Daytime on weekdays only
- Season: May, July, and August
- Self-guided Tour Fees: $20 for adults, $5 for children
- Private Tour Fees: $20 per person, a minimum charge of $160
History of Bibler Gardens and Home
Bibler Gardens and Home are the legacies of Sam Bibler and his wife, Jean, who moved from Calgary to Kalispell, Montana, in 1966.
The private display gardens were designed by Bibler in 1979 and he landscaped, maintained, and planted them every year until his passing in 2002.
The views are incorporated into the planning. The main part of the garden contains four acres of flowerbeds and water features, offering stunning floral displays in both spring and summer when showings are available.
The house was built in 1979, as well, situated against the hillside, with the lowest level of the home underground where it blends into the surroundings.
The house was designed by Bill Bierrum, a Kalispell architect, and the home was (and is) furnished primarily with 19th and 19th Century Scottish and English antiques and furnishings, with French and Anglo-Indian antiques alongside.
Some 19th and 20th Century paintings adorn the walls, though primarily the 20th Century Montana artists are featured.
Additionally, the home contains a collection of mid-20th Century Cape Dorset Inuit sculptures and prints, with dozens of stone carvings (some considered masterworks), and a limited edition prints collection that make up one of the world’s finest collections of Inuit printmaking.
The home’s floors are covered in antique, handwoven, tribal, and palace-style Persian carpets from the 19th Century and earlier. This collection of Persian rugs is the only of its kind in North America.
The home and furnishings have been preserved in fine quality and may be viewed during public tours held at least twice annually in the spring and summer months.
What Makes the Gardens So Appealing?
The gardens are open to public tours in brief seasons when the flowers are at their prime. In the springtime, the tulips and daffodils are at peak, while the summertime hosts peak perennials and annuals such as daylilies, cosmos, heuchera, marigolds, delphiniums, rudbeckia, hollyhocks, and petunias (among many others) on display.
Flowering trees are placed throughout the garden, with apple, pear, plum, and others showing off their vibrant blooms in spring and sweet fruits in the late summer and early autumn.
The water features on the property are equally stunning, with waterfalls and ponds, bridges, sculptures, brooks, and more, with Australian black swans, Tundra swans, and Argentine black-necked swans roaming the area.
What is There to Do and See at Bibler Gardens?
Both self-guided tours and private tours of the garden and home are available at Bibler Gardens and Home. For self-guided tours, they begin with introductory remarks at the gate, followed by your leisurely exploration of the grounds and home.
Guides are available throughout the estate for guidance and questions. The gardens recommend setting aside at least a 90-minute period for the tour.
Private showings must be arranged ahead of time, but may be booked for groups of up to 30 people. Private showings may include home and garden tours, educational tours, plein air painting and photography classes, picnics, or small group photo shoot sessions.
Bibler Gardens and Home host special showings each year from spring into summer. Be sure to check calendars for specific dates.
Before you head over to Bibler Gardens in person, you may wish to watch this brief video tour to get a feel for the place. You’ll see the beautiful grounds, plants, and more.
Visiting Bibler Gardens
If you’re in Kalispell during the spring or summer months, you may well wish to visit these carefully curated gardens and the home that accompanies them. If you do, be sure to:
- Check the calendar – when are public tours open?
- Call ahead or purchase tickets – Call ahead for private tours and purchase tickets for self-guided tours
- Choose your tour time – self-guided tours are available at 4:30 and 6:30 pm
- Wear appropriate attire – comfortable walking shoes, weather-appropriate clothing
- Bring a notebook to jot down any questions to ask a guide later
Plan for 90 or more minutes for your tour so that you may take in the artworks, the beautiful gardens, the distinctive antique furnishings, and more. You won’t want to miss a thing while you’re here!