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News: Knoxville GC Honored by University of Tennessee


March 01, 2018

The University of Tennessee Gardens honored the Knoxville Garden Club as a “garden legend” at its annual gala in 2017.  The club, founded in 1923, was recognized for its record of civic responsibility and community beautification through gardening, conservation of native plants and trees, education, and philanthropic grants.  Watch a seven-minute video produced by the university to recognize the club’s impact in eastern Tennessee.

Knoxville Garden Club has long supported the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK), dating back to the early 1950s when they jointly offered conservation camps for teachers.  The club underwrites two scholarships at UTK in ornamental horticulture and conservation.  When a club member discovered a new holly in 1960, it was propagated and preserved with the assistance of a UTK graduate student, Don Shadow, now a world-recognized plantsman and horticulturist, who subsequently commercialized the Emily Bruner holly, considered a fundamental plant of Tennessee landscapes and a staple in the horticulture industry.  

Other club endeavors highlighted in the video include its annual Talahi Plant Sale to benefit community projects, its restoration of the grounds at the historic Blount Mansion, establishment of the Ijams Nature Center, and creation of Knoxville’s dogwood trails.

Club member Sherri Lee was honorary host of the April 2017 UT Gardens Gala that supports academic and educational programs. Gardening Legends – Rooted in Tradition was the benefit theme, as well as the UT Gardens theme for the year.

The UT Gardens, part of the UT Institute of Agriculture, are located in Knoxville, Jackson, and Crossville.  Together the three sites make up the official State Botanical Garden of Tennessee.

Photo caption:  L-R, Denise Cross; Tim Cross, chancellor, UT Institute of Agriculture; Sherri Lee, member, the Knoxville Garden Club, and UT Gardens Gala honorary host; Joe DiPietro, UT president; and Deb DiPeitro.


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