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7:59 a.m. September 25, 2014
UT Gardens listed among top university gardens
By Jeaneane Payne

ut gardens
A section of UT Gardens, Knoxville. Image by Jeaneane Payne.

The University of Tennessee Gardens, Knoxville, has been ranked in the Top 50 Most Stunning University Gardens and Arboreta by the Best Masters Program, an online guide that helps students identify Master’s degree programs that suit their goals.

Ranked as number 46, the UT Gardens were noted for being the official state botanical gardens of Tennessee and for their status among the 34 official All-American test sites in the U.S. Noted on the program’s website “In addition to creating beautiful gardens, the research from these sites is used for evaluating and selecting commercial plants and seeds.” The research from the Gardens’ three sites in Knoxville, Jackson and Crossville is used for evaluating and selecting commercial plants and seeds.

Susan Hamilton, director of the UT Gardens and a member of the faculty of the UT Department of Plant Sciences, said “It’s truly exciting to be listed among the top gardens in the nation and even internationally. It’s especially gratifying for me because the list is really recognizing the value of outdoor spaces to students seeking higher levels of education.

The UT Gardens exemplify how a public garden can satisfy different social needs. We teach onsite. We perform research and evaluations onsite. We sponsor community programs that reach out to our local communities and offer volunteer opportunities for youth and adults, and we are a quiet respite for students who need an outdoor spot to rest and recharge.”

The UT Gardens ranked closely with the University of Bristol Botanical Gardens (Bristol, England) and the University of Rhode Island Botanical Gardens (Kingston, Rhode Island). Ranked #1 was Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania located in Philadelphia.

The UT Gardens annually evaluates approximately 4,000 annuals, perennials, herbs, tropicals, trees, shrubs, vegetables and ornamental grasses for growth vigor, bloom quality climate tolerance or other characteristics. The Gardens’ demonstration displays allow students and staff to test their landscaping and cultivation skills. Home gardeners and nursery, landscaping and retail businesses all benefit from learning the most successful cultivars for a given area and from seeing the sometimes whimsically integrated sculptures and botanical specimens.

The Gardens are part of the UT Institute of Agriculture and are open during all seasons. Admission is free to the public except during designated special events. For more information see

Published September 25, 2014

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