UT Botanical Gardens was named official botanical garden of the state of Tennessee in 2013 and shares the glory with sister gardens in Crossville and Jackson.
It was a tough choice between Einstürzende Neubauten’s “The Garden” or “Blume” (flowers, albeit a play on words) but here we are.
Countless times, I’ve driven by taking mental note that I should visit and today was just as good as any.
Except it was also “game day.” The nice man at the entrance paused his breakfast to issue me a ketchup smeared 2-hour parking pass, but I had to bypass about forty football tailgaters with no interest in die Blumen for a spot. I waded through an orange tide of cornhole boards and Budweiser koozies to the beautiful entrance of the park that is University of Tennessee’s Botanical Gardens.
As you enter you can walk left toward the greenhouses, rose memorial garden and fountains, the kitchen garden, and other themes, or you can walk right toward the Children’s Garden.
The weather was cool and windy, an essential perfect early fall day.
Quiet and ethereal. Until the marching band started playing “Rocky Top.”
The Fountain in the Rose Garden
The Kitchen Garden
After the fountain, the kitchen garden is my second favourite spot. Rows and rows of shiny veggies and savoury cooking herbs stretch out under clouds of bright purple peas. On one side you will find wooden box beds of delicate flowers and plants used for teas, baths, and medicinal tonics.
The Children’s Garden
Giant wind chimes sing from a canopy of low-hanging branches over bushes and sculptures that pull you into the Children’s Garden. A steep running hill with a tunnel underneath, a Charlotte’s Web made of climbing rope, and other fun obstacles are all around for entertainment. There is an animal-themed garden and a fairy garden. It felt whimsical and bubbly like a Francesca Lia Block book.
We walked by the fountains again so my curious pup could watch the fish.
To learn more about the Botanical Gardens, become a member, or donate to support the ongoing projects, visit the website here.