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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 that supports and integrates teaching, research and service relative to the needs of the Department of Plant Sciences, the University, green industry professionals and the general public.

The UT Gardens joined the American Conifer Society in the fall of 2005 due to the inspiration of regional ACS members. The Gardens helped host the 2006 ACS Annual Conference in Tennessee and received grant money from the ACS to support their conifer collection. Since joining the ACS, the UT Gardens have invested several thousand dollars in developing their conifer collection and adding permanent interpretive botanical labels. Since 2005, the conifer collection has grown from 70 specimens to over 365 specimens, representing 19 genera. The conifer collection has become a significant addition to the Garden and helps to fulfill the Garden’s mission.

The Gardens support evaluation studies which provide information on the best plant materials for the mid-south and USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 6 and 7. They do this by evaluating performance and demonstrating the landscape use of every type of plant, from trees and shrubs to annuals, perennials, ornamental grasses and aquatic plants. The test gardens are important proving grounds for leading commercial seed and plant companies located around the world, who ultimately determine what plants reach the commercial market. Established in 1983 by the Department of Plant Sciences, the UT Gardens are recognized as one of 38 official All-America Selections test sites in the United States. The perennial collection contains more than 500 varieties while the herb garden features more than 350 varieties.

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