The UT Gardens, with locations in Knoxville, Crossville and Jackson, Tennessee, function as an outdoor laboratory to evaluate the performance and landscape use of every type of plant, from trees and shrubs to annuals and perennials to ornamental grasses and aquatic plants.
Perhaps one of the most important values of this nationally recognized garden is the fact that it is located in the mid-south where gardening and landscaping can be quite challenging. Because of the extreme summer heat and humidity common to Tennessee as well as the variable winters where plants experience frequent freezing and thawing, the test gardens are important proving grounds for the leading commercial seed and plant companies located around the world, who ultimately determine what plants reach the commercial market.
The gardens are planted to demonstrate each plants' ideal use in the landscape. In this manner, visitors are not only able to see what plants thrive and flourish in the Tennessee climate but get ideas on garden design and how to use plants in their own landscapes and gardens as well.
Established in 1983 by the Department of Plant Sciences, the UT Gardens are recognized as one out of thirty-four official All American Selections (AAS) test sites in the United States. The UT Garden Director conducts evaluations assessing heat and cold tolerance, flower production, plant uniformity, flower and plant size, pest resistance, and landscape appeal. Such information is important to commercial plant and seed companies, and essential to the success of commercial growers, landscapers, and gardeners allowing the Tennessee green industry to
economically grow and for gardening to remain the number one hobby in