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Reference Gardens

Since 2008 the American Conifer Society has been making grants to public institutions to assist them in the creation of a dedicated garden that highlights the beauty, diversity and utility of conifers in the landscape. In addition to funding, the ACS, through its members – private individuals, public institutions, growers and specialty nurseries – can provide horticultural expertise, design guidance and plant materials depending on the circumstances. Click here to learn more about ACS Reference Gardens. For a map of the SER Reference Gardens, click here.

FL – The Gardens of the Big Bend

Southeast Region members of the American Conifer Society have proved for years that ornamental conifers can be successfully cultivated in southern States. Now, with the southernmost ACS Reference Garden, Gardens of the Big Bend is set to extend this success even further (USDA Zone 8b) to the Deep South, Florida, and the Gulf Coast. What…

GA – Armstrong State Reference Garden

The Armstrong State University Arboretum Conifer Garden, Savannah, Georgia, was approved as the 17th Reference Garden in the Southeast Region in May 2015. They are the fourth Reference Garden in the state of Georgia, and along with Gardens of the Big Bend in Quincy Florida, offer our members a look at growing conifers in the…

GA – Atlanta Botanical Garden

The Rare and Unusual Southern Conifer Garden at the Atlanta Botanical Garden was originally planted in 1994 and consisted of two beds located immediately in front of the conservatory. An additional two beds were added in 1998. Several people were instrumental in the planning and planting of this garden – Ron Determann, Director of the…

GA – Lockerly Arboretum

Lockerly Arboretum was founded in 1965 as a horticultural facility to provide educational programs and access to plant collections. Over a period of 20 to 30 years, an impressive plant collection was assembled, which sought to evaluate the performance of a wide range of woody and herbaceous ornamentals in this region of the Southeastern United…

GA – Smith-Gilbert Gardens

Smith-Gilbert Gardens is a new public botanical garden owned by the City of Kennesaw, Georgia. It is approximately 25 miles from downtown Atlanta. In 1970 Mr. Richard Smith and Dr. Robert Gilbert purchased the property which consisted of 13 acres of undeveloped woodland, meadows and a circa 1880 historic house. During the next 30 years,…

GA – State Botanical Garden of Georgia

The State Botanical Garden of Georgia, located on a 313 acre preserve in Athens, is a unit of the University of Georgia tasked with the mission of teaching, research, and public outreach. While it is part of an educational institution, it is also a community garden central to the lives of, not just students, but…

KY – Baker Arboretum

The Baker Arboretum in Bowling Green Kentucky is the 17th participant in the Southeast Region’s Reference Garden program. The Arboretum was established in 1992 on the estate of Jerry E. Baker on the outskirts of Bowling Green, Kentucky. His vision for creating an arboretum was a result of traveling the world viewing the outstanding arboreta,…

NC – J.C. Raulston Arboretum

The JC Raulston Arboretum was started in 1976 by Dr. J.C. Raulston as the NC State University Arboretum as a landscape arboretum. The following year, Leyland cypress were planted along the fence as a hedge and the installation of the conifer collection was begun with a diversity of genera specifically designed to dispel the myth…

SC – Brookgreen Gardens

Located at Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, Brookgreen Gardens has been a cultural center for its community since its founding in 1931 by Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington. Brookgreen Gardens is one of the few institutions in the United States to earn accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums,…

SC – Hatcher Garden and Woodland Preserve

A gem in the heart of the city of Spartanburg, the Hatcher Garden & Woodland Preserve has just begun its second quarter-century as a free public botanical space dedicated to providing a refuge for both quiet contemplation and active living. Hatcher’s mission is to provide a place where the garden’s 35,000 visitors each year can…

SC – Moore Farms Botanical Garden

Nestled among fields of corn and soybeans, this dynamic sixty acre garden is set in the rural Pee Dee region near Lake City, South Carolina. Embracing its southern pastoral setting through an informal, expressive design scheme, the garden is a careful blend of exuberant plant displays, bounding meadows and enduring vistas of grey green pines….

TN – East Tennessee State University Arboretum

The ETSU Arboretum encompasses the core of the 200+ acre ETSU campus and an adjoining 20 acres of University Woods, an old growth deciduous forest. The Arboretum maintains a collection of species native to the southern Appalachians and the eastern United States. Several native specimens exceed 100 years of age and pre-date establishment of the…

TN – Memphis Botanic Garden

The Memphis Botanic Garden became the 16th ACS Reference Garden in the Southeast Region in 2013. The Dixon Garden and Gallery hosted our regional meeting in 2013, and many attendees also visited Memphis Botanic Garden since they are located directly across the street. If you haven’t strolled the garden in person, we hope this overview…

TN – UT Gardens, Crossville, The Plateau Discovery Gardens

The Plateau Discovery Gardens began in 2004 when Walt Hitch, the director of the Plateau Research and Education Center in Crossville Tennessee had a discussion with Gregg Upchurch, Agricultural Extension agent for the county.  He remarked that there were several choice acres of land right at the entrance to the Center that weren’t currently in…

TN – University of Tennessee Gardens

The University of Tennessee (UT) Gardens have been established to foster appreciation, education and stewardship of plants through horticultural gardens, displays, collections, educational programs and research. The UT Gardens are a “living laboratory,” a vital resource for the teaching, research and public service missions of the University of Tennessee. The Gardens are an educational facility…

TN – West Tennessee Research and Education Center Gardens

The University of Tennessee West Tennessee Research and Education Center in Jackson was established in 1907, primarily for agronomic crops. However, in recent years, the Center has tackled research in the areas of ornamentals, turf grasses, and horticultural crops. It is also the home of the UT Gardens, Jackson, begun in 1989, and has grown…

VA – Al Gardner Memorial Conifer Garden

With a staff of two and some assistance from horticulture program students and JSRCC Horticulture Club members, the soon-to-be yet not-ready for prime time yet ACS Reference garden on the campus of J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, Western Campus (in Goochland, Virginia, between Richmond and Charlottesville) has come a long way over the past year,…

VA – Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden provides education to the Richmond Virginia community about the plant world, promotes the best in horticulture and landscape design and works toward the goal of being a leader in botanical and applied horticulture research. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden offers year-round beauty on a historic property with more than 50 acres of…

VA – Norfolk Botanical Garden

The Norfolk Botanical Garden has grown from humble beginnings as a Work Progress Administration project to a 155-acre garden filled with thousands of plants. There are more than forty themed gardens spread across the site. Some gardens focus on a single plant (camellias, hydrangeas, roses), others look at a plant from a specific region (Japan,…

VA – State Arboretum of Virginia

The State Arboretum of Virginia is located in Clarke County, Virginia in the Northern Shenandoah Valley. Originally the property was a 900 acre estate that was established by Colonel Tuley in 1810 and called the Tuleyries. This property was purchased by Mr. Graham Blandy in 1905. Upon his death in 1926, 700 acres of the…

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