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University of Tennessee Gardens

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The University of Tennessee Gardens

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2nd Annual Gala - A Rainbow of Iris - Knoxville

Bearded Iris

On Friday, April 25th, enjoy drinks, hors d'oeuvres, music, dinner, and live and silent auctions at the UT Gardens' second annual gala, A Rainbow of Iris, presented by HGTV HOME. This year the Gardens are celebrating their designation as Tennessee's State Botanical Garden by featuring the state flower of Tennessee, the bearded iris. Also meet Vern Yip, HGTV host and designer, who will be our celebrity guest and emcee.

Tickets are limited, and must be purchased in advance. To RSVP please visit

A Special Gala Message from Vern Yip

Eggstravaganza - Saturday, April 12th - Knoxville


Eggstravaganza will be held on Saturday, April 12, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Children's Easter crafts, spring activities and visits with the Easter Bunny will be held on the Gardens' Friendship Plaza.

This year we are partnering with Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET) to help raise awareness about food allergies. We will host two food-free egg hunts, one starting at 10:15 and another at 11:30. The final two egg hunts will include food, but will be peanut free. Those hunts will be held at 12:15 and 1:30.

This year Hurley Co Photography will be taking photos of your family with the Easter Bunny. The photos will have a festive border to document the event, and will be available to purchase for an additional fee. A portion of the proceeds from the photographs will be donated to the UT Gardens to support our educational programming. (You are welcome to bring your own camera to take a picture with the Easter Bunny if you wish.)

Click here for photo pricing information.

To learn more about Hurley Co Photography, the Official Photographer of the University of Tennessee Gardens, you can visit their website at

To register online click here. Registration will close on April 10th. For more information contact Derrick Stowell at 865-974-7151 or

New Membership Benefit

Better Homes and Gardens subscription program

The UT Gardens is happy to announce the return of our Better Homes & Gardens Subscription Program! Each member who joins or renews on October 24, 2013 through September 30, 2014 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).

Drawing and Painting Classes - UT Gardens Knoxville

Iris Bloom

Painting III: Introduction to Expressive Landscape Painting, Saturday, Apr. 12th, 1 - 4 pm. This class will allow us to further develop our understanding of color, brush techniques and editing in watercolor painting. We will begin with rapid gesture paintings to focus on and develop areas of importance, followed by longer paintings done in the splendor of the Gardens.

Painting IV: Watercolor Painting en plein air, Saturday, Apr. 26th, 1 - 4 pm. In this class we will enjoy the beauty of the UT Gardens while having fun with our paint, disassembling and reassembling paintings and working with found objects in collage.

Cost per session: $35/member, $45/nonmember
Cost for entire series: $220/member, $300/nonmember

Click here for a pdf of class descriptions. 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

Classes and Workshops - UT Gardens Knoxville


Home Grown: To Dye For - Wednesday, April 2nd, 1 - 3 pm. This class is for home-school groups. Learn science as we explore how plants can be used to dye fabrics. See what early settlers used to add a splash of color to their lives. Participants will get a t-shirt and will create natural dyes to add color to their shirt. Cost: $5/student

Garden Sprouts: Three Sisters Garden - Friday, April 4th, 10 - 11:30 am. This class is for children ages 3-5. Corn, beans and squash are three great vegetables. Take a look at the Iriqouis legend of the three sisters and explore why this trio works so well together. Get a few ideas to plant your own three sisters garden at home. Cost: $8/member; $12/nonmember

Sunday Garden Talk: Companion Planting - Sunday, April 13th, 2 - 3:30 pm. Curious about what to plant where? Take advantage of companion planting to place compatible plants together. This class will explore the history of companion planting, and look at how plants can help each other and attract beneficial insects to fight off garden pests. Cost: Free for members; $5/nonmember


Books & Blooms - every Thursday (beginning May 15th), 10:30 am - 12 noon. Summer program for children featuring books, music, crafts and sprinklers (weather permitting) Cost: Free (Pre-registration not required)

Sunday Garden Walk: Egg Carton Garden - Sunday, May 25th, 3 - 4 pm. This free tour offers visitors a chance to learn about the UT Gardens and see what is new. Cost: Free

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.

School Programming - UT Gardens Knoxville

Through our school programs we hope to inspire the next generation of gardeners and provide students with valuable life skills so that they can garden at their own homes. Each program can be custom-tailored to meet the needs of your classroom. The programs are designed to meet State of Tennessee and Common Core State Standards. We currently offer two main programs for schools - Garden Trips and Go Garden.

Garden Trips are designed to enhance the school curriculum by reinforcing each teacher's educational objectives. Using the natural environment of the UT Gardens, they provide opportunities to incorporate science, math, language arts, and other educational subjects into one trip. Each program lasts two to three hours depending on your specific needs. Cost: $5 per student.

Go Garden is our traveling program which brings the garden to you. This program is designed to enhance the school curriculum. Using the natural environment around your school yard, it provides opportunities to incorporate science, math, language arts, and other educational subjects into one trip. The UT Gardens can even offer your school ideas on how to design, create, and maintain your own school garden. These sessions can be set up to accommodate a specific class or several classes at once. Cost: $5 per student.

Click here for more information on our School Programming.

Home Grown Program - UT Gardens Knoxville

The UT Gardens provides an excellent opportunity to enhance your home school program with a fun and educational hands-on session each month October thru April! . Because many home school families have children of all ages, these sessions are designed to meet the educational needs of children grades K-5. Each session will have a garden theme and will include activities that touch on science, math, and reading. Pre-registration is required. Cost: $5 per student (per session).

These classes are finished for the semester, but they will start up again in September. You can sign up to receive an email concerning our educational programming.

2013 Community Sponsors

The UT Gardens is pleased to announce our 2013 Community Sponsors:

Platinum Sponsor - HGTV HOME


Bronze Sponsors: Pilot Flying J and 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 has resumed for 2014. Regular weekly sessions are 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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