About the UT Gardens
We inspire over 100,000 people each year about plants so that their lives can be enriched with beauty, better health, and a closer connection to nature.
To be the premier university garden establishing horticultural connections with the people and green industry of Tennessee, the nation, and the world.
To inspire, educate, and cultivate an appreciation of plants through horticultural displays, educational programs, and research.
Recognized in 2013 as the official botanical gardens of the state of Tennessee, the University of Tennessee Gardens located in Knoxville, Jackson and Crossville are part of the UT Institute of Agriculture. Some 4,000 annuals, perennials, herbs, tropicals, trees, shrubs, vegetables and ornamental grasses are evaluated each year. Both the Knoxville and Jackson gardens are TN Certified Arboreta. The gardens are open during all seasons and are free to the public. For more information visit http://utgardens.tennessee.edu/, http://www.ccmga.org/DiscoveryGarden.html, or http://westtennessee.tennessee.edu/ornamentals/.
The UT Gardens, with locations in Knoxville, Crossville and Jackson, Tennessee, function as an outdoor laboratory to evaluate the performance and landscape use of every type of plant, from trees and shrubs to annuals and perennials to ornamental grasses and aquatic plants. Perhaps one of the most important values of this nationally recognized garden is the fact that it is located in the mid-south where gardening and landscaping can be quite challenging. Because of the extreme summer heat and humidity common to Tennessee as well as the variable winters where plants experience frequent freezing and thawing, the test gardens are important proving grounds for the leading commercial seed and plant companies located around the world, who ultimately determine what plants reach the commercial market.
The gardens are planted to demonstrate each plants' ideal use in the landscape. In this manner, visitors are not only able to see what plants thrive and flourish in the Tennessee climate but get ideas on garden design and how to use plants in their own landscapes and gardens as well.
Established in 1983 by the Department of Plant Sciences, the UT Gardens are recognized as one out of thirty-four official All American Selections (AAS) test sites in the United States. The UT Garden Director conducts evaluations assessing heat and cold tolerance, flower production, plant uniformity, flower and plant size, pest resistance, and landscape appeal. Such information is important to commercial plant and seed companies, and essential to the success of commercial growers, landscapers, and gardeners allowing the Tennessee green industry to economically grow and for gardening to remain the number one hobby in America.
The UT Gardens are proud to be:
- An All-America Selections Test Garden
- An All-America Selections Display Garden
- A Fleuroselect Display Garden
- An American Conifer Society Reference Gardens
- An American Garden Award Garden
- A Certified Tennessee Arboretum
- A National Boxwood Trial Site
The UT Gardens are a member of the following organizations:
- The American Public Garden Association
The Holly Society of America
The Botanic Gardens Conservation International
The Perennial Plant Association
- The American Conifer Society
- The Tennessee Nursery & Landscape Association
- The Tennessee Flower Growers Association
- The Southeastern Palm Society
- The American Boxwood Society
- The Herb Society of America
- The Garden Writers Association
Significant funding for the UT Gardens is provided by the Friends of the University of Tennessee Gardens. The Friends are a 750-member 501(c)(3) non profit, founded in 1992, to advocate, promote and raise funds for the Gardens from citizens on the university campus, in the community and across the state of Tennessee. Additional funding is provided by the UT Agriculture Experiment Station as well as over 20 commercial seed and plant companies that provide financial support for production, maintenance, and plant evaluation.
Contact The UT Gardens
Department of Plant Sciences
252 Ellington Plant Sciences Bldg
2431 Joe Johnson Drive
Knoxville, TN 37996
Phone: (865) 974-7324
Fax: (865) 974-1947