Annual Event Open to Gardens Members and General Public
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Spring is in the air and that means it is time to add new plants to the garden. The University of Tennessee Gardens, Knoxville, will host its annual Spring Spectacular Plant Sale online in a virtual format amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The online sale will open March 26-28 for UT Gardens members only and will be available to the public starting March 29. The last day to make purchases is April 5, and a zero-contact plant pickup is available by appointment only April 9-10.
In addition to early shopping opportunities, members of the UT Gardens receive a 10 percent discount on all purchases. Memberships may be purchased online at utgardens.tennessee.edu. The UT Gardens website will also have a catalog of available plants posted soon.
The sale will feature a diverse collection of expertly selected shrubs, conifers, trees, perennial and annual flower and foliage plants, edibles and much more. While every plant in the inventory is special, UT Gardens, Knoxville staff have chosen six standout varieties to feature.
The first featured plant is Invincibelle® Lace Smooth Hydrangea. This brand new plum colored lace cap selection of the native wild hydrangea will not only make your garden more attractive with its charming flowers and loose informal growth habit, it will also provide food for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. The second featured plant is another native hybrid that is brand new to the market — Fizzy Mizzy TM Sweetspire. This adorable, small shrub is shade tolerant with abundant pollinator-friendly, fragrant white flower spikes that emerge in early summer and are later followed by a colorful fall foliage display.
For aromatherapy lovers the sale is featuring a hardy gardenia with local history. ‘Lilian Peay’ Gardenia was propagated from a bush grown by a long time Knoxville resident, Lilian Peay. This long-lived gardenia reportedly survived -24 degrees Fahrenheit in 1984 and continued thriving for many years to come. Besides being cold tolerant, it also has beautiful glossy green leaves and large creamy white aromatic blooms in early summer.
The final three selections are all varieties of the classic southern charmer clematis. Jolly Good TM takes the guess work out of pruning because it blooms on new wood. Simply cut back to about two feet tall each spring and enjoy abundant, long blooming light purple flowers in the summertime. Pink Mink TM follows the same pruning regiment but differs in flower color. Like the name implies it is truly and beautifully pink. The final featured clematis is new to the market. Sparky Pink ® is an early blooming clematis with dusty rose-colored, nodding bell shaped flowers that blooms on old wood and does not require pruning. Train this vine on a trellis in full to part sun for dreamy summer blooms and white fluffy seed heads that last through the winter.
These featured plants and our other selections are sure to enhance the beauty of your garden. Quantities are limited so be sure and shop early for best availability.
About UT Gardens, Knoxville: The UT Gardens feature more than 1,000 woody plants under long-term observation and 2,000 varieties of herbaceous plants evaluated annually. The Gardens function as an outdoor laboratory, teaching and research facility, and public gardens, sharing their beauty with over 50,000 visitors yearly. Established in 1983 by the UT Institute of Agriculture Department of Plant Sciences, the gardens are recognized as an official All American Selections (AAS) test site for evaluating new plants for the ornamental market, an American Conifer Association and a American Hosta Society reference garden, and are a Tennessee certified arboretum and are a valuable resource for home gardeners and landscape professionals. The Gardens are open during all seasons and free to the public. For more information, see the Gardens website.
You can find the UT Gardens in Knoxville just off Neyland Drive behind the UT Veterinary Medical Center on the Institute of Agriculture campus. From I-40 take Exit 386B onto Highway 129 (Alcoa Highway south toward the airport). From Highway 129 take the exit for Highway 158 (Neyland Drive). Turn left onto Neyland Drive at end of exit ramp. Turn left onto Joe Johnson Drive and right at the next light onto Chapman Drive. Free visitor parking is available directly across from the entrance to the UT Gardens.