garden tour motlow house

The Tullahoma Day Care Center will host its inaugural outdoor garden tour and silent auction on Sunday, June 5. Hours are 1-4 p.m. for the garden tour, and noon to 5 p.m. for the silent auction.

The fundraiser will feature the outdoor gardens of three private residences, plus a tour of both the city’s award-winning willow oak tree and the East Park Arboretum.

garden tour

The silent auction will be held at The Painted House, 204 East Lincoln St., which is also the location of the champion willow oak tree, named in 2020 as the state’s largest by the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture Champion Tree Program.

Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door, and may be purchased at the Tullahoma Day Care Center, 707 Trinity Lane; from board members; through Venmo @walt-reba-27B; or at the following local businesses:  Tullahoma Fine Arts Center, Clayton’s Shoes, Creations Hair Design, The Flower Shoppe, T. Michelle Clothiers, Smart Bank, Trader’s Bank, Parkview Senior Living, Yellow Tulip, Fuel So Good, Tullahoma Vision Associates/Vision Source and HAIRitage Hair Salon.

No rain date is planned. Attendees are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes, as walking will be required.

The Tullahoma Day Care Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the early educational needs of the city’s at-risk and special needs children. All funds received through the fundraiser will benefit the center.

East Park Arboretum, 908 Country Club Drive

East Park Arboretum is located behind East Middle School and is in a 25-acre area tract of land along with the Sunrise Rotary Club Disc Golf Course. The arboretum is certified by the state as being a Level II Arboretum, containing over 60 species of trees. Recent plantings and incorporation of native trees has increased the number of tree species to over 90. When certified by the state, it will be a Level III arboretum. Parking is available at the end of the road at the kiosk and in the school parking lot. The kiosk has a map of the trees and locations. Participants are invited to walk through the arboretum or view the tree listings and descriptions on the kiosk and on brochures to be distributed by members of the Tree Board.

State Champion Willow Oak, 204 E. Lincoln St.

Nominated by Tullahoma City Forester Lyle Russell in 2020, the state champion willow oak tree, located behind The Painted House, stands at 92 feet tall, 255.6 inches around, and has a 115.9-foot crown spread. The tree is estimated to be about 260 years old, which makes it pre-Revolutionary War era. It was named the state’s largest by the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture Champion Tree Program. Members of the Tree Board will be on hand to discuss details about the tree and how its age was determined.

Conner Motlow House, 7871 Lynchburg Highway, Tullahoma

Built in 1958 by Rose and Connor Motlow, a direct heir of Jack Daniel, the 9,000-square-foot home is currently owned by Cindy and Rod Cregier. The home is operated as a private residence and an event center. The stately home’s front entrance is flanked by a classic English garden, while the forest area to the rear of the home has been opened, featuring walkways, covered arches, native shrubs and bushes and a gazebo. In addition, landscaping surrounds the house and outdoor pool area, including rose bushes, zinnia, mint, azaleas, and other flowering bushes and plants.

Steverson home, 211 W. Blackwell St.

Randy and Stephanie Steverson purchased the colonial revival home in 2017 and restored and renovated the interior and exterior. The original owners, Paulette and Fletcher Smotherman, built the house in 1936, and had the yard landscaped professionally, one of the first homes in Tullahoma to do so. The Steversons, after searching for the original landscape plans, have created a relaxing, comfortable outdoor space while paying tribute to the home’s history.

Home of Ralph and Rosie Graham, 205 Lakewood Drive

For 46 years, Ralph Graham has worked to convert his yard into a spectacular display of hundreds of plants. In 2016, a tornado took out 19 trees on the property, and shade gardens became sunny, grassland areas. The property is divided into eight different areas, and visitors will not only be treated to a spectacular variety of plantings, but also Ralph’s expertise and love of gardening.

Silent Auction

A silent auction, featuring hand-crafted goods and items from area businesses, will be held at The Painted House, 204 E. Lincoln St., from noon to 5 p.m.