The backbone of the Gardens is our woody tree and shrub collection. Many of the largest trees were present before the Gardens came into existence and were originally part of a shade tree study in the 1970’s. These include pine oaks, bald cypress, linden, sweetgum and the large hedge of Nellie R. Stevens hollies. Beginning in 1990 many woody plant introductions and trials were acquired from the USDA for long term evaluation for suitability in Tennessee landscapes. More recently, the collections policy has focused on species and cultivars that are currently available on the market giving the public and students a living library of trees and shrubs which is used extensively in teaching in a variety of coursework. Notable collections throughout the Gardens include; Cornus, Cercis, Buxus, and Ilex. Our collection is notable for being a Certified Tennessee Arboretum.