“Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?” As a child, I loved the movie “The Secret Garden” and all the beautiful garden magic it depicts. Over the past year, I have grown a new appreciation for nature (especially plants) and the beauty of the outdoors. There is something about tuning into nature that makes me feel good. It’s now April, spring has finally sprung, and I wanted to share some special gardens that are part of the Dogwood Arts Festival, but that are not so secret anymore.
Dogwood Arts is a non-profit organization that promotes and celebrates our region’s art, culture, and natural beauty by hosting several events in the month of April and hosting the most celebrated event in Knoxville: the Dogwood Arts Festival. There are other events that are part of the Dogwood Arts however that you don’t want to miss out on such as the chalk(your)walk, hikes and blooms, and bikes and blooms. My most favorite part of the festival are the featured gardens. Move over Mary Lennox; these Knoxville gardens will give you a run for your money.
The featured gardens this year are Derrynane, GATOP, and Edenwood. They are open for one weekend only to the public on SATURDAY, APRIL 9TH: 10AM-5PM and SUNDAY, APRIL 10TH: 12PM-5PM. (Please note that several of the gardens require extensive walking; comfortable walking or hiking shoes are recommended.) The gardens are privately owned and there is limited parking at each garden. Guests will be admitted on a first come first served basis. This event is free, though a $5 donation per garden is suggested.
7209 RUTGERS DRIVE
KNOXVILLE, TN 37919
Garden Design by Jack McCoy
Derrynane Garden has been designed to use plants to create outdoor spaces and experiences to be enjoyed in their own unique and wonderful way. Garden rooms and curvy brick pathways offer a beautiful and interesting mixture of plants to stimulate your senses with color, texture, sound and provocative scents. Enjoy a stroll thru the Ashe Grove, the Beer Garden, the Elysian Retreat, the Oasis and the stunning Border filled with blooming tulips.This informal and casually elegant garden is sure to inspire you, so plan to take notes and photos as you dream of creating your own garden oasis.
DR. ALAN SOLOMON
2541 RIVERSIDE DRIVE
KNOXVILLE, TN 37914
Included in the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Gardens, GATOP (God’s Answer To Our Prayers) features many hundreds of botanical specimens such as conifers and hollies, extensive displays of wildflowers, perennials, and ground covers, as well as numerous water features and large marble outcroppings. Complimenting this unusual garden are stainless-steel, iron, bronze, and stone sculptures. The site features one of Knoxville’s oldest marble quarries.
(RON AND SARAH CRONAN)
930 BREAM DRIVE
KNOXVILLE, TN 37922
Our own little prequel of heaven on earth. Within these fenced two acres you’ll find life – plants and animals living, breathing, and working together year after year in this certified National Wildlife Habitat. This mostly-organic garden changes with the seasons, sprouting beauty of different forms 365 days a year. As you stroll through our plot, you’ll encounter a large selection of conifers, Japanese maples, woody plants, perennials, herbs, bulbs, an orchard, a vegetable garden, and greenhouse, and even a homemade chicken coop – be sure to say hello to the ladies: Primrose, Marigold, and Fern. This garden has grown, shifted, and aged with us – creating our own little deeply-rooted sanctuary in the middle of bustling West Knoxville.
There are even more spectacular gardens to see along the Dogwood Arts Trails. The trails are located across Knoxville. Once you choose your trail and arrive, follow the pink lines on the road and let them guide you through beautiful open gardens and breathtaking camera sites in each neighborhood. For a complete list of those locations, click here.
I hope you take the time this month to enjoy the art and nature of the Dogwood Arts Festival. You can find the addresses to these gardens on the Dogwood Arts website and their Facebook page.