The University of Tennessee Gardens have officially expanded to include the Discovery Gardens located at UT’s Plateau AgResearch and Education Center.
The announcement was made April 26 at the Cumberland County Master Gardeners’ Spring Flower and Garden Show at the county fairgrounds by UT Institute of Agriculture Chancellor Larry Arrington. Also in attendance were numerous Cumberland County Master Gardeners, including Mrs. Sara Senft, president of the group, and several UT officials including UT Gardens Director Susan Hamilton and elected officials including Crossville Mayor J. H. Graham and Cumberland County Mayor Kenneth Carey.
The UT Gardens are operated by the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture and can now be found in three locations: the UTIA campus in Knoxville, the West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center in Jackson, and the recently added location at the Plateau AgResearch and Education Center in Crossville. The original collection of UT Gardens is located on the UTIA campus in Knoxville, and in May is celebrating 30 years of horticultural education and research. The second site of the UT Gardens is at the West Tennessee at the AgResearch and Education Center in Jackson. It’s been a part of the UT Gardens system since 1989.
The Discovery Gardens at the Plateau AgResearch and Education Center were first planted in 2005 and is now the third and newest UT Gardens site.
The UT Gardens mission is to cultivate an appreciation of plants through horticultural displays, educational programs and research. Every year more than 100,000 visitors travel to UT Gardens locations to attend one of the many special events and educational seminars or simply to explore the beautiful grounds. The gardens also serve as an outdoor laboratory where researchers evaluate the performance and landscape appeal of each plant.
Dr. Arrington said in making the announcement, “This addition to our system of gardens, which truly makes us a statewide system, came with a lot of help and cooperation and coordination. I’d like to recognize the efforts of Walt Hitch, director of the Plateau AgResearch and Education Center, who has tirelessly worked with the Cumberland County Master Gardeners and Gregg Upchurch of UT Extension here in Cumberland County to make the Discovery Gardens the community resource it has become. I’d also like to recognize the efforts of Dr. Sue Hamilton, director of the UT Gardens, whose vision of public horticulture as both an educational and research resource for the state is literally blooming.”
The UT Gardens system was recently named as the official Tennessee State Botanical Garden.
Hamilton is elated about the statewide recognition. “Everyone associated with the gardens, from faculty, staff and student interns, to the many volunteers, Master Gardeners and donors, has worked hard to present an outstanding collection of public gardens. To be recognized as the state botanical garden is a great honor,” she said.
The gardens are also recognized as a certified Tennessee Arboretum.
All UT Gardens locations are open to the public and free to visit, although some events are fee based. Plans for additional displays as well as additional locations are in the works. For more information about the UT Gardens, including upcoming events, visit http://utgardens.tennessee.edu or follow on Facebook.
The UT Institute of Agriculture provides instruction, research and public service through the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, UT AgResearch, including its system of 10 research and education centers, and UT Extension offices in every county in the state.