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University of Tennessee Gardens

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The University of Tennessee Gardens

See also : Visitor Information : Garden News and Events

Specialty Plant Sale - Hellebores & Heucheras

Hellebore bloom

Sunday, March 8th at the UT Gardens Knoxville; program and sale will be held in Hollingsworth Auditorium (on the Ag Campus near the Gardens)

Join us for a free educational session (from 1:30-2 pm) on these spectacular winter perennials. UT Gardens Director, Dr. Sue Hamilton will discuss best practices for growing hellabores (lenten rose) and heucheras (coralbells) and how to combine them for maximum impact in your early spring garden. They're a great way to bring color into your winter garden!

A plant sale will follow (from 2 - 4 pm) - featuring limited quantities of exclusive cultivars that are not readily available on the market. Enjoy complimentary refreshments while you shop. All proceeds benefit UT Gardens Knoxville.

Selections to be offered include:

Eggstravaganza - UT Gardens Knoxville

Egg Hunt

Saturday, March 28th from 10:00am - 2:00pm

Hop on over to the UT Gardens and get your picture with the Easter Bunny, make a spring craft, and go hunting for some eggs.

This year we are partnering with Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET), Allergy & Asthma Affiliates, and Allergy, Asthma and Sinus Center. To help raise awareness about food allergies, we are moving away from candy to promote healthier eating. All four egg hunts will be food free. Hunts will begin at 10:15, 11:30, 12:15 and 1:30.

The Eggstravaganza is a family friendly event and intended for children ages 12 and under. Bring your Easter basket and a camera!

$6 per child; pre-registration is required. $6 per child.Contact Derrick Stowell at 865-974-7151 or for more information.

Spring Plant Sale - UT Gardens Knoxville


Saturday, April 11th from 9:00am - 2:00pm
A preview sale will be held Friday, April 10th from 4:00 - 7:00pm
for all UT employees, garden volunteers, and Friends of the Gardens members. Friends receive a 10% discount on their purchases at the preview and the public sales. Memberships may be renewed or purchased at the sale.

A Plant Sale Not to Be Missed!
Come and shop for some unique and cutting-edge plants for your garden. All proceeds will benefit the UT Gardens. The sale will be located at the UT Gardens on the UT agriculture campus in Knoxville located on Neyland Drive adjacent to the UT Veterinary Hospital.

There will be a variety of edibles, perennials, trees and shrubs to choose from. Check back for a list as the sale date nears.

Membership Benefit Renewed!

Better Homes and Gardens subscription program

The UT Gardens is happy to announce that our Better Homes & Gardens Subscription Program has been renewed! Each member who joins or renews through September 30, 2015 will be offered a free one-year subscription to Better Homes & Gardens magazine (digital or print edition). Current subscribers will receive a one-year extension of their subscription. You will receive a card with your membership letter which you can then redeem for your free subscription. This membership benefit is made possible through the UT Gardens' membership in the American Public Gardens Association (APGA).

Don't forget - members also enjoy reciprocal admission benefits at almost 300 gardens across the United States. This benefit is made possible through the UT Gardens' participation in the Reciprocal Admissions Program (RAP) of the American Horticultural Society. Click here for more information and a list of participating gardens.

Classes and Workshops - UT Gardens Knoxville

February (pre-register for any February event)

Sunday Garden Talk: Intro to Organic Gardening - Sunday, Feb. 8, 2:30 - 3:30 pm. Growing organically is a popular trend, but it can seem overwhelming to begin. This talk will focus on how to start growing organically. Participants will learn basic techniques to reduce the need for pesticides, inorganic fertilizers, and weed killers in your home garden. Cost: Free/member; $5/nonmember

Garden Sprouts: Carnivorous Plants - Tuesday, Feb. 10, 10 - 11:30 am. This class is for children ages 3-5. Plants that eat animals?! this session will explore the world of plants that attract and kill insects. Preschoolers will get to look at several carnivorous plants and learn how to care for them. Participants will also learn good local sources for buying their own carnivorous plant. Cost: $5/member; $10/nonmember

Home Grown: Water Conservation - Wednesday, Feb. 18, 1 - 3 pm. This class is for home-school groups. Students will learn about the water cycle and why it's important to conserve water. They will learn how to set up a home rain barrel, and explore engineering as we look at how to optimize rain barrels installed in the UT Gardens. Cost: $5/student

Growing Together: Toad Abodes - Saturday, Feb. 28, 10 - noon. Toads need a place to sleep. This class will explore the world of toads. Participants will create their own toad abode to take home and place in their garden. Cost (per family): $10/members; $20/nonmembers

March (pre-register for any March event)

Adult Workshop: Intro to Garden Photography - Saturday, Mar. 7, 10 am - noon. With the invention of smart phones, almost anyone can take great photos. This class will explore basics of photo composition and will touch on the use of traditional and non-traditional cameras. Using the garden as a backdrop, participants will get to practice and sharpen their photography skills. Cost: $10/member; $20/nonmember

Sunday Garden Talk: Spring Flowers - Sunday, Mar. 8, 2:30 - 3:30 pm. Spring is just around the corner. Come and learn about flowers that bloom early in the UT Gardens. If weather permits, we will spend time outside exploring what is or is about to be in bloom in the garden. Cost: Free/member; $5/nonmember

Garden Sprouts: Toads & Frogs - Tuesday, Mar. 10, 10 - 11:30 am. This class is for children ages 3-5. Toads are not frogs, and frogs are not toads. This class will take a look at these two amphibians and how they might live in your garden. Participants will create a toad abode to take home and place in their garden. Cost: $10/member; $20/nonmember

Home Grown: Seeds - Wednesday, Mar. 11, 1 - 3 pm. This class is for home-school groups. Seeds are vital to human survival. Without them we could not eat. Students will explore the life of a plant and how seeds grow. Each student will get to sow vegetable seeds to take home and grow. Cost: $5/student

Eggstravaganza - Saturday, Mar. 28, 10 am - 2 pm. Hop on down to the UT Gardens and enjoy the spring. Don't forget to bring your Easter basket! You can take part in crafts and hunt for some eggs. The Easter Bunny will also be jumping to get his picture taken with you. (Preregistration for a specific hunting time is required. Hunts will begin at 10:15, 11:30, 12:15, and 1:30.) Cost: $5/child

April (pre-register for any April event)

Garden Sprouts: Worms - Tuesday, Apr. 7, 10 - 11:30 am. This class is for children ages 3-5. Worms are a part of every successful garden. Preschoolers will explore the life of a worm and see how they help improve garden soil. Participants will make a worm compast bin to take home and care for. Cost: $10/member; $20/nonmember

Growing Together: Leaf Casting - Saturday, Apr. 11, 10 - noon. Learn to preserve garden leaves through leaf castings. This fun and easy activity will give you ideas for adding art to your garden or home. Participants will make a leaf casting to take home and display. Cost (per family): $20/members; $30/nonmembers

Sunday Garden Walk: Spring Flowers - Sunday, Apr. 12, 2:30 - 3:30 pm. Take a walk through the UT Gardens and see what is in bloom this time of year. Cost: Free/member; $5/nonmember

Pre-registration is required for all classes. All classes will be held at the UT Gardens in Knoxville. Contact Derrick Stowell at 865-974-7151 or for more information.

Drawing and Painting Classes - UT Gardens Knoxville

Iris Bloom

Charcoal, Lines and Trees, Saturday, Jan. 10th, 1 - 4 pm. This class will explore basic drawing and observation techniques. Plants from the UT Gardens' collection will be our models as we apply the principles of classical figure drawing to develop coordination between our hands and eyes.

Black and White Conifers, Saturday, Jan. 24th, 1 - 4 pm. Here we will focus on the forms, textures, and mass of conifers. We will work to interpret and express those qualities through the observation of light and value using only black-and-white dry and wet media.

Late Winter Color, Saturday, Feb. 14th, 1 - 4 pm. In this class we will explore the Gardens in search of colorful winter interest specimens. We will then explore the basic principles of color theory as we observe and render our cut specimens using colored pencils.

Color and Depth, Saturday, Feb. 28th, 1 - 4 pm. Using acrylic on wood, we will work to observe and render cuttings of a unique and colorful winter interest specimen. We will begin pre-study drawings and exlore composition.

Spring Stiff-Life, Saturday, Mar. 14th, 1 - 4 pm. With 15th- and 16th-century Flemish and Dutch masters in mind, we will cut, arrange, and draw our own still-life masterpieces. We will use pastels and various mid-range colored to black drawing papers to help us break through the standards of the color wheel and understand the less exalted realities of the color spectrum.

Spring Flower Portraits, Saturday, Mar. 28th, 1 - 4 pm. This class will focus on the selection, placement, observation, and rendering of a single cut spring flower. Using watercolor on watercolor paper, we will explore mixing colors, timing and patience when working with fresh spring models cut from the Gardens.

Pastels in the Gardens, Saturday, Apr. 11th, 1 - 4 pm. Here we will turn to basic techniques of drawing and observation as we work outside. We will use pastels and various papers as we explore and express single specimens, beds, and vistas in the Gardens.

Sketching with Watercolor, Saturday, Apr. 25th, 1 - 4 pm. We will observe landscape watercolors by masters, then go into the Gardens to sketch with watercolors and discover the boundaries and nuances of the medium - as well as the artist's need to edit.

Drawing for Botanic Realism, Saturday, May 9th, 1 - 4 pm. We will work with pencils and erasers to explore and strengthen observational techniques, as well as accurate rendering of species within the UT Gardens' collection using line, value, and texture.

Painting Iris, Saturday, May 23rd, 1 - 4 pm. One goal in this class will be to produce an accurate likeness of a specific iris cultivar in the Gardens' collection using dry-brush watercolor technique. The other will be to create a loose, expressive painting of a mass of iris or other flowers using watercolor, pastels, or charcoal through direct outdoor observation.

Cost per session: $30/member, $40/nonmember
Cost for entire series of ten classes: $275/member, $375/nonmember

All classes will take place at the UT Gardens Knoxville, and some will be held outdoors (as weather permits). All materials will be provided. Preregistration is required. To register contact Derrick Stowell at 865-974-7151 or

2014 Community Sponsors

The UT Gardens is pleased to announce our 2014 Community Sponsors:

Platinum Sponsor - HGTV HOME


Gold Sponsor: Ruth and Erbin Baumgardner


Silver Sponsors: Oakes Daylilies and Pleasant

Hill Nursery LLC

Oakes Daylilies


Pleasant Hill Nursery


Bronze Sponsor: UT Federal Credit Union



Professional Photography Policy

The UT Gardens in Knoxville are proud to provide an attractive venue and colorful setting that has become a popular location for all types of photography in the East Tennessee region. Considerable materials and labor are required to maintain the Gardens to the high standard that has attracted so many professional photographers to use the Gardens in their work. 

As a result, starting March 1, 2011, the UT Gardens will implement the following Professional Photography policy. ‘Professional Photographer’ being defined as one who charges a fee for their services.

Professional photographers who wish to take advantage of the UT Gardens’ as part of their commercial work are asked to become Friends of the UT Gardens at the $100 level or above.  These funds will directly support the maintenance and upkeep of the UT Gardens.  Membership information is available at

Photographers who do not wish to become Friends of the UT Gardens at this level may schedule photo shoots on the grounds for a fee of $35 per hour.  Non-member (commercial) photographers who bring clients to the UT Gardens without scheduling in advance, or without paying the sitting fee, may be asked to leave the grounds. 

The full policy may be viewed here.

UT Gardens T-Shirts and Note Cards - Now Available

t shirtVisit the eMarketplace of the UT Institute of Agriculture to order your UT Gardens logo t-shirt, spring or fall notecard set, or garden poster. Proceeds from all sales benefit the UT Gardens.




UT Gardens Knoxville Volunteers

The UT Gardens Volunteer Program in Knoxville is currently on winter hiatus. Regular weekly sessions will resume in late February. After that, they will be held each Tuesday and Thursday morning from 9-12. To learn how you can join in these work sessions, contact Beth Willis at; 974-2712


Thanks due to Spring Meadow Nursery and Netherland Bulb Co.

Spring Meadow Nursery and Netherland Bulb Co. recently made large donations of plant materials to the UT Gardens. Their generous support is greatly appreciated!

Dogwood Arts Festival Presents Bazillion Blooms

Bazillion Blooms is a Dogwood Tree planting program to beautify our East Tennessee communities, improve the health of our environment and foster community support and pride in our beloved native dogwood. For more information, click here




Corona is the official tool sponsor of the UT Gardens.

Dramm Logo

Dramm provides a portion of the watering tools used in the UT Gardens.

Contact The UT Gardens

UT Gardens
Department of Plant Sciences
252 Ellington Plant Sciences Bldg
2431 Joe Johnson Drive
Knoxville, TN 37996
Phone: (865) 974-8265
Fax: (865) 974-1947

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