Anakeesta Arboretum Receives Accreditation for Vista Gardens

Famous for their expansive, colorful, and lush landscaping,  Anakeesta is enhancing their commitment to being stewards of the living earth by recently receiving an arboretum accreditation for Vista Gardens. The area is an incredible mountaintop garden retreat in the smoky mountains. The mission of the Anakeesta Arboretum is to provide an experiential sensory garden which offers environmental education, recreation, interactive play for children, and beauty. The accreditation includes the following:

  • A future garden robust with local wildflowers that attract native butterflies and honeybees.

  • The replanting of thousands of trees, shrubs, and groundcovers burned by the Chimney Top II Wildfires of 2016 in Gatlinburg.

  • Creating  “garden walk” tours to encourage guests to learn about gardening techniques.

On November 28, 2016, more than 15,000 acres of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the city of Gatlinburg were damaged by the most devastating fire in the state’s history. Anakeesta features a Forest Memorial Interpretive Trail where  guests can stroll through the tribute to the Gatlinburg fires of 2016. It serves as a reminder of the courage of the brave men and women who fought the fires, the fortitude of those affected and the resilience and restoration of the Great Smoky Mountains and the city of Gatlinburg that truly are ‘mountain tough.’

Following the Chimney Top II Wildfires of 2016, almost every single tree was charred and destroyed from the damage of the fires.  This gave Anakeesta the challenge and opportunity to create a very special garden design. Today, guests can spot native birds, enjoy the sounds of cascading waterfalls, discover musical garden chimes, and feel cool mountain breezes as they pass through the wisteria covered misting tunnel. The mountain top garden also provides breathtaking 360⁰ views of the national park and downtown Gatlinburg.

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