“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 GATOP, Gardens of 4th & Gill, and Gardens of North Hills. They are open for one weekend only to the public on SATURDAY, APRIL 15TH: 10AM-5PM and SUNDAY, APRIL 16TH: 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.
Gardens of 4th & Gill Includes:
- CENTRAL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH – ‘Pray & Play Garden’
201 THIRD AVENUE, KNOXVILLE, TN 37917
- The Garden of Cindy & Dave Kenny – Lovenia Avenue
- The Garden of Gabrielle Boudreau & Gordon Coker – Eleanor St.
- The Garden of Melynda & Bob Whetsel – Luttrell Street
- The Garden of Susan & Dan Howett – Luttrell Street
Stroll through this beautiful neighborhood and explore five lovely urban gardens which make up “a necklace of gardens throughout the neighborhood” each adding a jewel of its own. Selected upon aesthetic appeal, uniqueness, and spaces that speak to the passion of the gardeners.
Gardens of North Hills
The Garden of Lloyd Ronnie King
1629 North Hills Blvd 37917
The Peters-Mitchell Garden
2969 Kenilworth Lane 37917
The Claytor Garden
3033 Fountain Park Boulevard 37917
Enjoy the bountiful dogwoods and other flowering shrubs in this historic neighborhood. As a Level 1 Arboretum, there are over 40 labeled species of trees and more than 400 individual trees.
This garden tour includes 3 stops.
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.
Baxter Gardens is open each year from April 1st to April 30th.
Baxter Gardens is a private residence which opens its gardens to the public during the month of April as part of the Dogwood Arts Festival in Knoxville, Tennessee. There are fifteen gardens which can be toured during the festival with the assistance of a printed map and guide or QR code provided onsite.
The gardens were constructed, beginning in 1992, on the south facing crest of Black Oak Ridge in Fountain City, in North Knoxville. The first garden designed and constructed was The White Garden, modeled after a similar garden at Sissinghurst Castle in England. The English Garden influence is strong throughout the gardens. Another major influence on the design of the gardens has been Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed and built Biltmore Gardens in Asheville, N.C., as well as Central Park in New York City and The Public Gardens in Boston. Olmsted emphasized designing in harmony with the topography of the site, complimenting and respecting what nature has given you.
Open Gardens and Camera Sites
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.