Spring happens: Colors and blooms ready for Knoxville’s 2020 Dogwood Arts Festival

It’s a spring like no other here in Knoxville: people are staying inside, dedicated caregivers and medical professionals are working harder than ever, and most of us barely realize it’s the prettiest time of the year in our fair city. But one thing COVID-19 hasn’t stopped is the blooming of trees and flowers everywhere, Knoxville included.

In fact, spring is happening, with color and confidence.

Rain-drenched lilacs add beauty to spring.

The first shows in Knoxville are the tender greens — sprouts emerging from the ground, poking up to see what’s going on in this world of ours.

New, green hosta leaves bathed by raindrops
Pale green: hellebores in early spring

But pink quickly takes on a life of its own. Redbuds (maybe they should be called purple buds or pink buds) line the I-40 interstate and push out their color as if to say, “Look at me first.” But we can’t stop staring at them wherever we find them.

An elegant redbud tree oversees a pathway at UT Gardens, Knoxville

Pink cherry trees also bloom early, almost bending with the weight of what looks to be tissue-thin flowers clustered along meandering branches.

Without leaving our neighborhood, we can appreciate three glorious flowering cherries.
Pink Profusion

But the heart of springtime in Knoxville is the dogwood. Celebrated for 65 years now by the Dogwood Arts Festival, dogwoods even have their own trails. And a drive along any one of them is a spring awakening for residents and visitors alike.

We checked to see if trails and open gardens would be available for touring this year, and, best we can tell, some are. This cautionary statement appears on the website: Due to the spread of COVID-19, some of the Open Gardens listed below may choose to close. Please only enter gardens that have an “OPEN GARDEN” sign in the yard.

Runners keep their distance on this stretch of the Sequoyah trail, the featured trail for 2020.

One garden we’ve previously shared, the estate of Dr. Alan Solomon, will not be on tour this year, but we remember fondly the elegance of the forested acres and statuary that make it a showplace like no other in town.

If you want a springtime lift, a drive along one of the trails may be your best bet. Check the Dogwood Arts website for a map showing the location of this year’s trails, and then drive along for a color treat. We took the Westmoreland Trail this week, and, as you can see, there’s much to celebrate.

An elegant redbud leans in toward this traditional home in the Westmoreland neighborhood of Knoxville.
A mature dogwood adds elegance to the front yard of this home on the Westmoreland trail.

It’s good to know that even when most things we value are shut down across America, Mother Nature still shows her colors majestically. It’s time to celebrate spring — whether in Knoxville or your own hometown — and be thankful for growth, renewal, and color in these tough times.

White dogwoods now in full bloom
Next up: pink dogwoods!

Stay safe out there.

Rusha and Bert

13 thoughts on “Spring happens: Colors and blooms ready for Knoxville’s 2020 Dogwood Arts Festival

  1. dawnkinster

    Awwwww….look at your spring! You already have lilacs! And…and….and! We are having our first warm days after what seems like weeks of cold and rain. The winter was mild, but grey. Today is the second day in a row with sunshine! I think our gardens are going to pop now that it’s getting warmer. I have daffodils up with big buds on them…any moment now…any moment… (we’re in SE Michigan, though my sister used to live in Knoxville, so I know how pretty it is there!)

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Dawn, I think I replied through email before, but I just wanted to say thanks for stopping by. It’s always good to hear from you. Hope you are staying safe and finding things to do. We’re hunkered down now, but I’m finding that I have more to do even now — so much I hadn’t done while working full time. So, I’m off to look at a closet that needs cleaning today. Or not. It seems I’ll have some other days off as well.

      1. dawnkinster

        I have plenty of things like closets to sort and clean, but I haven’t done any of that stuff. I’ve done fun stuff instead…though I am cooking more and that’s only so-so fun. I’ve been painting little miniature postcards and mailing them out…that’s super fun. And walking the dog more too, she is very happy about that. I guess I should get to the closet cleaning…but ….I don’t really want to!

  2. The Wandering RVer

    Beautiful images! Spring is my favorite time of year, to me it represents hope and survival. In NH, I had a large crocus garden and no matter how much snow, or how cold winter had been, every spring they would emerge and make my heart sing. All the best to you and Bert.

  3. CompassAndCamera

    Wow, just gorgeous! Your photo of hosta leaves with raindrops would look amazing as a canvas on the wall. Thanks for brightening up today with such a colorful post!

  4. Dede Wilkerson

    Love this so much! I would love to share this with my Chapman Highway Dogwood Trail and Chapman Highway Garden Club Facebook pages. You have a beautiful gift of writing. These blogs pull me in! Thank you for that! I’m also praying that you and Bert are safe and well! 🙏❤️😘

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      I would LOVE for you to share. Just copy the link at the top of the post and send it out. I’d love more followers. There’s a place to add your (or anyone else’s) email at the bottom right corner of the front page. I’m usually a travel writer, but we’re staying home now, so expect more about Knoxville. Thanks again for sharing.

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