UT Gardens Jackson – About Us

The West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center is home to the UT Gardens-Jackson. In addition to the Jackson location, the UT Gardens can be found at the UT Institue of Agriculture campus in Knoxville and the Plateau AgResearch and Education Center in Crossville. The UT Gardens mission is to cultivate an appreciation of plants through horticultural displays, educational programs and research. In 2013, Governor Bill Haslam signed a bill designating the UT Gardens as the official botanical garden for Tennessee.

The idea for locating the UT Gardens Jackson at the West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center grew from a 1989 conversation between then Superintendent Dr. Jim Brown, and Dr. George Hopper, a UT Extension Forester.  With the assistance of Dr. Don Williams, a plan was drawn and the project initiated.

Jason Reeves in the Gardens

The UT Gardens-Jackson continues to flourish under the guidance of Dr. Scott Stewart, Research Center Director, and Jason Reeves, Ornamental Horticulturalist.  Since 2002, ornamental plant research has grown by leaps and bounds, creating a need to expand the gardens.  UT Gardens-Jackson now includes annual and perennial displays, an All-American Selection display, a heat tolerant plant display and a witch-hazel (Hamamelis) and redbud (Cercis) collection.  We have also been named a Conifer Reference Garden by the American Conifer Society.

blue flowers blooming

Visitors can enjoy a hydrangea collection, courtyard garden, turf wheel, turf variety trials, compost display, plant screen demonstration, and a magnolia collection. In addition, the arboretum has long been an attraction to local children who collect leaves for school projects. More than 50 new species and cultivars of trees have been added to this collection in the last three years.

Dogwoods blooming

In 2008, several new projects were started.  One is a “dry bed” consisting of several different genera of xerophytes, including many colorful sedums, succulents, yuccas and hardy agaves.  An acidic-peat bog garden was created near the main office building containing several types of carnivorous plants, including pitcher plants (Sarracenia), sundews, and the infamous Venus Fly Trap.  More than 75 new cultivars of daylilies were added to the garden in preparation for the Regional American Hemerocallis Daylily Society meeting that was held in Jackson in 2010.

Bikes in the Gardens

The UT Gardens-Jackson are also home to special events held throughout the year.  Summer Celebration Lawn and Garden Show and our seasonal plant sales draw thousands of visitors to the grounds.

The Gardens are located around the office building area.  Visitors are welcome during daylight hours all year long.  Our website is ever evolving, so check back in soon for new pictures and updates.