Sycamore Shoals is a Tennessee State Park that commemorates early history of the area. The park has many educational activities and events throughout the year, which can be found on the Sycamore Shoals website.


The project was begun in 2006 by a group of Master Gardeners from Carter County. The gardens were designed, planted and are maintained by certified Master Gardeners and consist of:


  • Herb Gardens outside the kitchen cabin of Fort Watauga


  • Butterfly Gardens established in 2008 contain 25 varieties of native plants; 297 total plantings. Both the host garden and nectar garden are thriving. The garden is a registered Official Monarch Way Station... A Grant was obtained in 2010 to complete perimeter and internal garden paths for easy access and efficient maintenance of the butterfly garden.


  • Kitchen and Vegetable Gardens at Carter Mansion


Visitors to the historic site number over 300,000 each year. Many school children from the local schools come with their teachers and classmates to view the gardens and learn about the metamorphosis of the Monarchs. The Carter County Conservation Group also visits the park and the gardens each year as part of their curriculum.


Herb Gardens by Fort Watauga

Building the herb beds outside the kitchen cabin of Fort Watauga
Taking soil sample while it was beginning to snow
Herbs begin to grow

Butterfly Gardens

Preparing the bed – first a layer of sand, then a layer compost and plant
Planting in the rich layer of compost. The walking trail by the Watauga River is in the background.
Waiting for the rain and the sun
Some of our 297 plants (25 varieties of native plants)
Inviting path to the inner garden
Chris Ramsey visits the gardens and admires the solidago rigida goldenrod.
The Milkweed is the only plant the Monarch Butterfly uses for laying eggs and for the caterpillars to eat
Monarch Butterfly
Master Gardeners happy with their work

Photo Gallery   Butterfly Garden  Summer 2014

Carter Mansion

John and Landon Carter Mansion, 1775 - 1781
Herb garden outside the back kitchen door
The Heirloom Vegetable Garden
Fall clean up at the vegetable garden