European garden at Discovery Park of America in Union City, TN
Photo Credit: Discovery Park of America

Take a Walk Among Tennessee's Wildflowers and Botanical Gardens

Visit these public gardens, historic sites and hiking trails for beautiful blooms.

See all the blooms in Tennessee by visiting public gardens, historic sites and hiking trails in state natural areas and parks. We ask that you leave only footprints and not pick the flowers you see, so they can bring joy to others as well. Here’s where to go in Tennessee to stop and smell the flowers. 

West Tennessee 

UT Gardens – Jackson

Walk through the lush gardens at the University of Tennessee Gardens in Jackson. The UT Gardens, also found in Knoxville and Crossville, were designated as the official botanical garden for Tennessee by former Governor Bill Haslam. In Jackson, you’ll find an array of colorful flowers and plenty of green space. The gardens were designed to cultivate an appreciation for and education of horticulture. 

Memphis Botanic Garden – Memphis

You’ll want to spend hours among the beautiful gardens at Memphis Botanic Garden. Enjoy 96 acres of 30 specialty gardens including an Azalia Trail, Hosta Trail, Prehistoric Plant Trail, the Japanese Garden, Daffodil Hill and much more. While dogs aren't allowed unless they are certified service animals, the garden does host Dog Day special events throughout the year. Have a delicious lunch at Fratelli’s Café which is located between the Water Garden and Sculpture garden. Outdoor seating is available on the terrace. 

Discovery Park of America gardens – Union City

Discovery Park of America is home to several gardens on its property from The Civil War Memorial Garden in Freedom Square to the American Garden with its pergola and dramatic entrance to the covered bridge. Spend some time in the Japanese Garden which has a beautiful water feature with koi fish or the European Garden that has a fountain, stately columns and has a geometric layout reminiscent of the formal gardens you’ll see in Europe.

Middle Tennessee 

Cheekwood Estate & Gardens – Nashville

Walk the grounds of Cheekwood, a 1930s estate with 55 acres of cultivated gardens and beautiful vistas. Leisurely walk through 12 gardens and the 1.5-mile woodland sculpture trail. Children and adults alike will love the Bracken Foundation Children’s Garden featuring several fountains, a playground and more. You could spend a good bit of time I the Turner Season Garden which features the beautiful Trains! exhibit. Now through April 11, 2021, Cheekwood presents Cheekwood in Bloom with more than 150,000 bulbs planted to reference Holland’s tulip fields and giant interactive windmills. With the exception of service animals, dogs aren't allowed on site. However, there are a few special events throughout the year at Cheekwood that are dog-friendly including Dog Nights of Summer, Dogs & Dogwoods and Howl’Oween.

Carnton – Franklin

Learn about Tennessee history while walking through manicured garden at Carnton. The home was the site of the 1864 Battle of Franklin, one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. Today, you can tour the home and the grounds. The garden is a square acre and has been restored to its mid-19th-century layout and appearance. Spend a few moments strolling the space that is full of roses, vegetable beds and concord grapes, which was the grape of the year in 1849 and 1852. 

Short Springs Natural Area – Tullahoma

Explore where the wild things grow in Tennessee. At Short Springs Natural Area, you can see some of the best spring wildflowers in the state. Slopes are covered in bluebells, larkspur, trout lilies, thickets of mountain laurel and more. While at Short Springs, see Machine Falls and the Upper and Lower Busby Falls which are responsible for creating such lush landscapes. Nearby Tims Ford State Park offers 6.5 miles of hiking trails for even more flower viewing and lakeside cabins if you want to stay the night.

East Tennessee 

Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum – Knoxville

The Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum is a natural sanctuary spread across 47 acres. The gardens represent more than 200 years of horticulture and are free to visit every day of the year. Spend your time among the several gardens on the property including the Stone Terrace Garden, Master Gardener Beds, the Martha H. Ashe Garden and the Butterfly Meadow, featuring more than 50 native species in the space. The adjacent outdoor classroom was designed for children. With a Secret Garden theme, it encourages children to connect and care for the natural world around them. Dogs are allowed provided you keep your pet on a leash and clean up after them. Contact Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum if you have questions.

UT Gardens – Knoxville

Enjoy the outdoors, sculptures and beautiful flowers found at the University of Tennessee Gardens in Knoxville. Stroll through the Beall Family Rose Garden that is home to 120 rose bushes, making it the largest public rose garden in East Tennessee. Walk among perennials, see the shade garden and kids will love the Children's Garden, designed with little ones in mind. 

Sculpture Fields at Montague Park – Chattanooga

The Sculpture Fields at Montague Park in Chattanooga are free and open to the public. Here, you can walk 33 acres featuring world-class sculptures from international artists. There are over 40 large-scale sculptures throughout the space. Bike or walk more than 1.5 miles of trails and see art from Jim Collins, Jesús Moroles, George Schroeder and much more. Spend the day in this outdoor art museum, spread a blanket on the grounds and let time stand still for a while. The sculpture fields are pet-friendly, so you are welcome to bring your leashed, friendly dog. There are sanitation stations throughout the park as well in case you forget a bag to clean up after your pet.

Cherokee National Forest - Cleveland

Cherokee National Forest leads you to the famous Catawba rhododendron gardens, located on the Tennessee-North Carolina state line. The views of the Blue Ridge Mountains are accented by the stunningly beautiful colors of the rhododendrons, normally in full bloom in mid- to late June. To access the gardens on Roan Mountain, bear right on Carver’s Gap to continue on the Forest Service access road. There is a U.S. Forest Service fee in order to enter the gardens area. 

Take in the beauty of the warm weather seasons in Tennessee. Enjoy more outdoor spaces across the state.

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