Culminates Three Years of Work by Cumberland County Master Gardeners

UT Gardens, Crossville, KinderGarden

​Maira and Brenna Schaerer enjoy the bridge at the KinderGarden at the Plateau Discovery Gardens in Crossville. The KinderGarden will be dedicated on June 23, 2015, at 10 a.m. Photo courtesy of N. Christopherson. Download image.


CROSSVILLE, Tenn. – Master Gardeners, friends and the general public will gather on Tuesday, June 23, for the grand opening of a very special garden and labor of love. The KinderGarden at the UT Plateau AgResearch and Education Center in Crossville has been constructed for children ages 3 to 7 years and will be officially opened at 10 a.m. CDT.
While there are many children’s gardens across the United States, none are within a reasonable commute for residents of Cumberland County in Middle Tennessee or its surrounding environs. The KinderGarden is the newest addition to the ever expanding University of Tennessee Gardens, Crossville, which is one of three UT Gardens across the state. Together, the three UT Gardens sites in Knoxville, Jackson and Crossville are designated as the official botanical garden for the State of Tennessee. The UT Gardens, Crossville are also known as the Plateau Discovery Gardens.
At the KinderGarden, children are encouraged to explore nine unique areas. They can wander through a labyrinth, try their hands at potting and digging, explore a pavilion, experience a sensory station, engage in sensory, enjoy music and movement, travel across a bridge, cross under a living green tunnel, adventure in a fort and expand their imagination with arts and materials such as puzzle pieces, clay and a microscope. Each area is designed to enhance their cognition, social-emotional skills, language, literacy and physical development. The garden is free to all visitors and is open daily during sunlight hours.
Why include a children’s garden within a demonstration garden? Cumberland County Master Gardeners in chartering this area understand that “child’s work is child’s play.” Play stimulates the whole brain, not just a single area related to a specific academic skill. It is multi-sensory, interactive, creative and imaginative. Providing play opportunities (whether on their own or with the assistance of adults) within a garden setting exposes children to the agrarian world. Simply being told how a plant grows is never the same as digging in the soil, planting a seed, pouring a little water and watching it for signs of growth. 
The KinderGarden was the brainchild of Cumberland County Master Gardener Beth Morgan in the fall of 2012. Once approved by the garden oversight committee, Morgan enlisted the help of fellow Master Gardeners to assist with fundraising. Then, as monies were secured, they assisted with the construction for both small and large components of each unique area.

It has been a long and very detail-oriented process, but one that has been very fulfilling to all involved. As a retired early childhood teacher, Nancy Christopherson, Master Gardener and co-chair of the Plateau Discovery Gardens, is anxiously awaiting the grand opening, when “the smiles and enthusiasm of children will be proof positive of its significance and reward for the countless hours contributed by fellow Master Gardener volunteers!”

The Tennessee Master Gardener Program is a volunteer service program that trains and certifies volunteers in the science of horticulture and gardening. MG volunteers provide community service through county Extension offices. For more information, visit the website or contact your local county UT Extension Office.

The UT Gardens, Crossville, Plateau Discovery Gardens is located at the UT Plateau AgResearch and Education Center. A map to the center
and complete directions are available online at Free visitor parking is available at the Center beside the Garden.

The UT Gardens are a program of the UT Institute of Agriculture. The UT Institute of Agriculture provides instruction, research and outreach 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.



Walt Hitch, UT Plateau AgResearch and Education Center, 931-484-0034