Visit Baxter Gardens Before It’s Too Late!


Visit Baxter Gardens Before It's Too Late!Something about spring time has me fully embracing the romance of classic literature. I long to walk through the English countryside like a character from a Jane Austen novel, my long skirt gathered in my hand as I shield my eyes to survey the trees in full bloom and the creek gently lapping over the rocks down the side of the hill. After all, “what are men [compared] to rocks and mountains?” (Pride and Prejudice)

Imagine my delight when I realized there is just such a timeless English garden nestled in suburban Fountain City, just a short drive from my house! I don’t even need a passport…or a time machine.

For a long time, Baxter Gardens was a mythical place that I had only heard about or seen in pictures, but I had never had the chance to visit. Part of the reason that Baxter Gardens feels so elusive is that it is closed most of the year, only opening to the public for the month of April. However, if you’re like me and you long to step back in time and stroll the grounds of Pemberley, this is definitely a place you need to visit — and soon!

Visiting Baxter Gardens has become one of our favorite springtime family traditions and probably one of the best parts of the Dogwood Arts Festival. Did you know that there are over 30 different species of Dogwood shrubs and trees, and all of their varieties can be found at Baxter Gardens (generally in full bloom) this time of year? 

Baxter Gardens will only be open for a couple more weeks before it closes until next April. 

Baxter Gardens is actually part of a private residence and has only been around since the early nineties, but it definitely captures the old world charm that you would find in a much older European park. With plenty of statues, water features, mountain views, and even a hedge maze, it’s easy to feel like you’ve traveled back in time. 

That’s because the gardens were inspired by Frederick Law Olmstead who designed the gardens for the Biltmore Estate (as well as Central Park). One of the fifteen gardens on the property is also modeled after the garden at Sissinghurst Castle in England. It’s no wonder the Jane Austen vibes are so strong at this place! Over the years, Baxter Gardens has been in a variety of magazines such as Southern Living and Garden Design, and it’s definitely the perfect Instagram backdrop. 

I was skeptical at first that it would be a good idea to bring my children to Baxter Gardens. Isn’t there a good chance they would ruin the tranquil atmosphere for the other guests? But my kids actually loved exploring the property. Some of their favorite spots were the koi pond (which has stepping stones going across it so that you can really get up close and personal with the fish) and the hedge maze (which they wandered through three or four times in effort to memorize the correct path).

However, the owners of Baxter Gardens do ask that you keep your children under supervision at all times and encourage them to stay on the designated pathways. The main reason that the garden opens for only a brief time each year is to protect it from the damage of heavy foot traffic. Professional photographers setting up shop with bulky equipment, as well small children uprooting plants and throwing rocks into the streams, have all contributed to permanent damage to Baxter Gardens in years past. Baxter Gardens can only remain open to the public with free admission if we all respect the property as we explore. 

If you’re curious to see if Baxter Gardens lives up to the hype, I encourage you to go! The gardens are located at 3901 Sam Cooper Lane, Knoxville, TN 37918. This opportunity only comes around briefly once each year — don’t miss it! Your inner Elizabeth Bennet will thank you. 



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