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The American Boxwood Society

Join us for the 57th Annual Boxwood Symposium!

Nashville Garden Tour. May 17-19, 2017


As the Boxwood Symposium moves west to Middle Tennessee, we will see that there is much more here than just music. Nashville has been called “The South’s Red Hot Town” and Franklin is certainly a gem of small town that has found the right formula to be successful in today’s world of online shopping and chain restaurants. And do not forget, there is music here!
As for gardens, we will visit a variety of both public and private offerings. The Hermitage gives us an early 19th century garden with a traditional four square and Carnton Plantation provides us with an antebellum kitchen and ornamental garden. Of course, Cheekwood includes the original gardens designed by Bryant Fleming with pools, fountains, statuary, and extensive boxwood plantings. There is also a great Japanese style garden, an herb garden, a color garden, and two perennial gardens. We will visit all of these, plus several wonderful private gardens in the area.



CLICK HERE to access the Registration Form

Mail Registration Form(s) with remittance by April 20 to:
American Boxwood Society, PO Box 85, Boyce, VA 22620-0085

Email your Registration Form to

And Pay for the Symposium Online!

ABS Member Symposium Fee $439

ABS Non-Members Symposium Fee $489
The above fee entitles you to a one year Membership with all privileges

Additional Charge for Saturday Optional Tour $40

Deadline for symposium registration is April 17


May 16

Board Meeting Hampton Inn and Suites Green Hills




Carnton Plantation

May 17 Breakfast at Hotel (included)

Wednesday takes you to Franklin, TN, famous for being America’s favorite main street and the side of a historic Civil War battle. Our first stop will be Carnton Plantation where we will meet Justin Stelter who has been the director of garden and grounds at Carnton Plantation for over a decade. The garden at Carnton is a reconstructed mid 19th century kitchen/ornamental garden. In addition to his duties at Carnton, Justin also creates and maintains gardens for nearly two hundred private clients.

Next we will take the short trip to the Carter House, another important landmark in Franklin. where Justin is leading a representative planting of the 1869 orchard and is planning the recreation of a one acre mid nineteenth century vegetable garden. Not only will you find the gardens and homes wonderful, but meeting Justin will be a treat for all. It is exciting to see someone this young truly passionate about historic gardens and gardening in general.

Franklin is home to “American’s Favorite Mainstreet”. You will have an opportunity to have lunch on your own at one of the many downtown restaurants and time to shop at the many unique stores and boutiques.

After lunch, It is back on our coach for a tour of a private garden in the area before visiting Samara Nursery with Matt Dawson. We will then make our way to the General Jackson Showboat where we will have dinner, view Nashville from the water, and enjoy a country music show, “Hot Country Nights”.




Andrew Jackson's Hermitage - photo credit Michael McCarthy

May 18 Breakfast at Hotel (included)

Our first stop will be the Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson. The original garden at The Hermitage was designed by the English gardener, William Frost, as a foursquare garden common in England at the time. The 19th century one-acre garden was a favorite spot of both the President and his wife, Rachel. Some of the plants in the garden were planted by the Jacksons themselves, while many others are descendants of plants they planted.

Much of Jackson’s life was centered at the Mansion. He lived here, loved here, worked here, and played here. The mansion has had a rough history including several renovations and a devastating fire in 1834.

We will have lunch at the Hermitage, before moving onto a private garden. This garden contains many unusual plants and will be a treat for our group.

We will return to the hotel in time for the annual meeting. Tonight, you will have an opportunity to visit Nashville for dinner, or hit the honky tonks on Broadway for some great music. There are also restaurants close to our hotel.




Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art

May 19

Cheekwood is our first stop where we will enjoy the gardens and have lunch. This is a wonderful botanic garden that has been on the cutting edge with the special exhibits that have been hosted here. The permanent collection is fantastic with many different gardens. . We will then visit two private gardens before returning to the hotel in the late afternoon.

As far as gardens are concerned, we are saving the best for last with Cheekwood. For the casual or serious gardener, Cheekwood is indeed where the magic in Nashville is. Not a single garden, but twelve separate gardens make Cheekwood one of the premiere botanic gardens in the US. You can visit the restored Howe garden which is one of the most beautiful at Cheekwood, or the Sigourney Cheek Literary Garden designed for inspiration overlooking the Tennessee Hills. Definitely a place where Dolly Parton might lose her “Tennessee Blues”. Of course there is the Martin Boxwood Garden with formality which can transport you to not only another time but another place. They will delight any Buxus lover. One of the favorite gardens is the Shomu-en, Japanese style garden. The pine mist garden is a four part garden and is no less than spectacular. These four gardens plus 8 more certainly have something for everyone and may be a sensory overload for many. We will have lunch at Ckeekwood.

In addition we will also be visiting several private gardens that have been handpicked by Justin and Troy Marden, a local television personality who appears on the Volunteer Gardener a local PBS show. These two talented, young men have arranged wonderful sites for us to visit. We will return to the hotel in the late afternoon.

May 20

Optional Tour to Brookside the country garden belonging to Ben and Libby Page.
Hotel: The Hampton Inn and Suites in Green Hills.

Enjoy boutique-style accommodations at Hampton Inn and Suites Nashville-Green Hills located minutes southwest of Music Row and Vanderbilt University. World-class shopping is steps away at The Mall at Green Hills with over 100 shops including Nordstrom, Tiffany & Co., Louis Vuitton and Burberry. Take a drive along the tree-lined streets of Belle Meade past pillared mansions and country clubs. Visit Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Museum of Art. The historic mansion and 55 acres of gardens were owned by the Cheeks, founders of Maxwell House Coffee. Explore the history of agriculture and thoroughbred breeding at Belle Meade Plantation. Spend an evening at The Bluebird Café, the legendary songwriters’ performance space known for intimate acoustic music. Practice line dancing and dine on Southern smokehouse cuisine at the Wild Horse Saloon. Music attractions including the Country Music Hall of Fame and Ryman Auditorium are six miles away. Dine on ‘meat and three’ or a burger and milkshake at Rotier’s or Elliston Place Soda Shop, popular with Vanderbilt students for over 60 years.


Hotel Reservations
Hampton Inn and Suites, Nashville/ Green Hills, TN. 615-777-0001.
Make your reservation by April 17, 2017 for the ABS Symposium rate of $169.00 per night plus tax; breakfast included. Don’t delay there are a limited number of rooms reserved for the Symposium.