Crowd Expected to Approach 1,000 on Tuesday, August 25
Fall Gardeners Festival at UT Plateau AgResearch and Education Center

​Visitors to the Fall Gardeners' Festival in 2014 enjoyed walking and riding tours of the gardens and UT Plateau AgResearch and Education Center as well as numerous seminars and educational displays about gardening. Photo by P. McDaniels, courtesy UTIA. Download image.


CROSSVILLE, Tenn. — If you’ll pardon the pun, the Fall Gardeners’ Festival just keeps growing. Last year the event attracted more than 800 gardening enthusiasts, and organizers of this year’s event expect the crowd to exceed 1,000 visitors. This is the seventh year for the festival, which will be held Tuesday, August 25, at the University of Tennessee‘s Plateau AgResearch and Education Center on Hwy. 70N, west of Crossville.

Co-hosted by the UT Institute of Agriculture and the Cumberland County Master Gardeners, the free educational event promises something for gardeners young and not-so-young. Featured will be gardening seminars, walking tours of the UT Gardens, Crossville—also known as the Plateau Discovery Gardens—and wagon tours of the AgResearch and Education Center. Young ones will enjoy playing on the many structures in the recently dedicated KinderGarden.

John Tullock, author of
The New American Homestead: Sustainable, Self-Sufficient Living in the Country or in the City; Pay Dirt: How to Make $10,000 a Year from Your Backyard Garden; and the just-released Idiot's Guides: Straw Bale Gardening, will be the featured speaker. Tullock also writes a weekly blog, The New American Homestead, online at

The festival will also include educational displays. The popular UT Extension Ask-the-Expert booth invites visitors to bring samples or photos of diseased plant materials or insect pests for analysis and recommended treatments. Also, Debbie Joines, manager of UT Extension’s Soil, Plant and Pest Center, will be on hand to provide free soil pH analyses. Those interested in this service should bring a sandwich bag full of the soil they wish to be tested.

“We’ve been amazed at the enthusiasm for the festival,” says Master Gardener and Festival Coordinator Nancy Christopherson. “It just continues to grow. Visitors, volunteers, speakers and just about everyone has a great time,” she said.
Walt Hitch, director of the UT Plateau AgResearch and Education Center, says the center can accommodate additional crowds. “We have plenty of space to park visitors, and we also have shuttles that can help those that have a trouble negotiating the parking lot,” he said. The parking lot is a converted hay field.

The festival will open at 8 a.m. CDT and formal tours and educational seminars will begin at 9 a.m.  Admission and on-site parking are free. The program is scheduled to adjourn at 3 p.m. Snacks and lunch items will be available for purchase throughout the day. A map and complete directions are available
at the Plateau Center’s website: For more information, call the center at 931-484-0034 or visit the Cumberland County Master Gardeners website:

In 2013 the UT Gardens, Crossville, became the third site in the UT Gardens’ statewide plant collection, which is now designated at the state’s official botanical garden.

The Cumberland County Master Gardeners Association is a program of the county’s UT Extension office. The Plateau AgResearch and Education Center in Crossville is one of 10 outdoor laboratories located throughout the state as part of the UT AgResearch system.
Both Extension and AgResearch are divisions of the UT Institute of Agriculture, which also provides instruction, research and public service through the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the UT College of Veterinary Medicine and UT Extension offices in every county in the state.



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

Nancy Christopherson, Cumberland County Master Gardner and Fall Gardeners’ Festival Coordinator,