Susan Lynne (Sue) Hamilton, Ed.D

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Director and Associate Professor
  The UT Gardens
  Plant Sciences
Office: 103 Environment & Landscape Laboratory
Phone: (865) 974-7972

  • Overseeing management and operation of the UT Gardens as well as leading the mission and vision for its growth and development.
Educational & Research Programs
  • Research - Plant Performance Evaluation; The role of a university botanical garden in supporting university research, teaching, and outreach; People-plant relationships.

  • Public garden mgt & operations
  • Plant & garden photography
  • Public garden practicum
  • Herbaceous Plant Identification
  • Survey of Public Horticulture
  • Introduction to Ornamental Horticulture & Landscape Design
  • Honors Course: Introduction to Gardening

Biographical sketch

Dr. Sue Hamilton is the Director of the University of Tennessee Gardens where over 100,000 visitors enjoy their beauty and education each year. The UT Gardens are recognized as the ‘State Botanical Gardens of Tennessee’. The Gardens are important “proving grounds” where each year hundreds of different cultivars of trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials, and herbs are evaluated for their landscape performance.

Dr. Hamilton has been a professor at UT for 36 years where she teaches and advises students and is the founding director for UT’s Public Horticulture undergraduate and graduate program. Dr. Sue has co-authored the book “The Best Garden Plants for Tennessee”. She is a contributor to various magazines including Tennessee Home, Tennessee Gardener, Fine Gardening Magazine, and coordinates the UT Gardens’ monthly e-newsletter and bi-annual magazine. During her tenure at UT, Dr. Sue co-hosted a weekly ‘Garden Talk’ radio show for 15-years, wrote a monthly gardening newspaper column for 7-years, and has led several garden trips throughout the United States and Europe.

Sue is the recipient of several awards including the UTK Chancellor’s Honors Women of Achievement Award, UTIA William T. Miles Memorial Award for Community Service, UT CASNR W.S. Overton Faculty Award for Outstanding Student Development, Gamma Sigma Delta Teaching Award, and the Perennial Plant Association Academic Award.

Sue enjoys plant and garden photography and regularly speaks to groups on various horticultural topics. She is a member of the Garden Writers Association, American Conifer Society, Perennial Plant Association, American Public Garden Association, The American Horticulture Society, Botanical Garden Conservation International, and the American Society of Horticultural Science. She is an avid gardener and enjoys traveling to visit gardens, nurseries, and garden centers.

Dr.Sue has a Bachelor's of Science degree in Ornamental Horticulture from the University of Tennessee, 1980; a Master's degree in Horticulture from Ohio State University, 1983; a Doctorate degree in Adult Education from the University of Tennessee, 1995.

Recent Publications


Ed.D Horticulture and Adult Education, University of Tennessee, 1995


Wall Gardening
You obviously need dirt to grow something, but you can also use .... a wall.