List includes internationally famous sites

UT Gardens, Knoxville
The UT Gardens, which are the State Botanical Gardens of Tennessee, have been named to a list of top 50 stunning university gardens and arboretums. The original site in Knoxville is shown above. Photo by G. Clemons. Photos of the Jackson and Crossville sites are also available for download. All photos are courtesy of UTIA.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Best Masters Programs, an online guide that helps students identify Master’s degree programs that suit their goals, has published a list of the 50 most stunning university gardens and arboretums. The list includes famous gardens from across the globe, from California to Copenhagen, and the University of Tennessee Gardens made the grade.

Ranked as number 46, the UT Gardens were noted for being the official state botanical gardens of Tennessee and for their status among the 34 official All-American test sites in the U.S. The notation also cited the Gardens’ ability to mix beauty and utility. The research from the Gardens’ three sites in Knoxville, Jackson and Crossville is used for evaluating and selecting commercial plants and seeds.

Susan Hamilton, director of the UT Gardens and a member of the faculty of the UT Department of Plant Sciences, was thrilled with the designation. “It’s truly exciting to be listed among the top gardens in the nation and even internationally. It’s especially gratifying for me because the list is really recognizing the value of outdoor spaces to students seeking higher levels of education.”  Hamilton’s field of study includes the value of public green space to society.

“The UT Gardens exemplify how a public garden can satisfy different social needs,” Hamilton said.  “We teach onsite. We perform research and evaluations onsite. We sponsor community programs that reach out to our local communities and offer volunteer opportunities for youth and adults, and we are a quiet respite for students who need an outdoor spot to rest and recharge.”

Founded in 1983 in Knoxville – with the Jackson and Crossville sites added in 1989 and 2005, respectively – the UT Gardens annually evaluates some 4,000 annuals, perennials, herbs, tropicals, trees, shrubs, vegetables and ornamental grasses for growth vigor, bloom quality climate tolerance or other characteristics.
The Gardens’ demonstration displays allow students and staff to test their landscaping and cultivation skills. Home gardeners and nursery, landscaping and retail businesses all benefit from learning the most successful cultivars for a given area and from seeing the sometimes whimsically integrated sculptures and botanical specimens.

Part of the UT Institute of Agriculture, the Gardens are open during all seasons and free to the public except during designated special events. For more information see



Patricia McDaniels, UTIA Marketing and Communications, 615-835-4570,


Best Masters Programs, Your Online Guide to the Top Masters Degree Programs
50 MostStunning University Gardens and Arboretums