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The University of Tennessee University of Tennessee UT Institute of Agriculture

University of Tennessee Gardens

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About the UT Gardens

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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 Knoxville Gardens website, Crossville Gardens website, or Jackson Gardens website.

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 perennial bordershrubs 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.

Garden BedThe 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.

Garden Afiliations

The UT Gardens are proud to be:

The UT Gardens are a member of the following organizations:

Contact The UT Gardens

UT Gardens in Knoxville
Physical Address:
2518 Jacob Drive
Knoxville, TN 37996

Mailing Address:
Department of Plant Sciences
252 Ellington Plant Sciences Bldg
2431 Joe Johnson Drive
Knoxville, TN 37996
Phone: (865) 974-7324
Fax: (865) 974-1947