For those who love roses, the Beall Family Rose Garden in Knoxville is about as close to heaven on earth as one can get. Some 120 roses live there, making it the largest public rose garden in East Tennessee. This special place on the UT agricultural campus also includes a 22-foot gazebo and two cascading waterfalls supported by 60 tons of Tennessee sandstone. The garden was dedicated last fall with a ceremony that thanked its creators, Sam and Mary Anne Beall and the entire Beall family.
The idea for the garden began with a question. Sam Beall approached Mark Windham, Distinguished Professor of Plant Pathology, at a rose seminar. Beall asked why there weren’t plantings of no-spray and minimum-care roses identified by Windham and research assistant Jim Mynes of UT AgResearch.
“We don’t have the room,” Windham remembers saying. But Sam and his wife, Mary Anne, knew a site—right at the center of the UT Gardens. Windham, gardens director Dr. Sue Hamilton, and curator James Newburn took a look and soon they were busy starting from scratch figuring how the garden might look.
The Bealls also had ideas, and they brought landscape designer Mark Furman and his partner Jeanne Lane on board. Lane, a 1979 graduate of the ornamental horticulture and landscape design program, developed a design with double rows of roses, sandstone steps, a water feature, and a koi pond.
The result is a rose garden with three purposes: a beautiful spot for people interested in plants to enjoy, with a gazebo for weddings and other events; a research garden to evaluate how varieties perform in Knox-area conditions; and an educational resource for students in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.
The UT Gardens in Knoxville are open daily, sunrise to sunset. Directions are available at utgardens.tennessee.edu. There is also a location of the UT Gardens in Jackson, Tennessee.