Tipton-Haynes State Historic Site

Tipton-Haynes Historic Site is situated in a beautiful mountain valley of Eastern Tennessee and has been described as Tennessee’s most historic location. Early Woodland Indians and later the Cherokees established hunting camps on what is now Tipton-Haynes Historic Site. It was the home to statesmen from the American Revolution through the Civil War. French botanist Andre Michaux documented native plants during several visits to the site. 


Tipton-Haynes Historic Site, where Project Master Gardeners had a busy and exciting 2017 and expect more of the same in 2018, is located in South Johnson City.


The vegetable gardens at Tipton/Haynes consist of two small plots in the historical area. The Kitchen Garden is representative of a small garden near the house that would have grown those vegetables that need a little extra care and be handy for meal preparation. Vegetables that require a lot of room, such as corn and pumpkins could be grown out in the fields. We emphasize heirloom varieties where we can, using varieties grown in Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello gardens. Colonel Tipton knew and corresponded with Jefferson, so we infer that maybe they exchanged gardening information.


Kitchen Garden



Slave House and Garden

In the Kitchen Garden we have some perennial plants: strawberries, rhubarb, and asparagus, and the herbs sage, lavender, and rosemary. Garlic is planted in the fall around the edges. In spring we plant some broccoli and cabbage, onions, carrots, beets, lettuce, spinach, and chard. As it warms up, we add Brandywine tomatoes, peppers, and Scarlet runner beans. We also add some of the annual herbs. We may add some vine crops as the spring crops mature and are harvested. In the fall we usually replant cabbage and other cole crops. Our greatest challenge in the Kitchen Garden is shade, due to the now huge trees that are on the south-facing side.

The Slave Garden, as we call it, is located behind the restored slave cabin, home to George, the Haynes family’s slave. It was usual for slaves to have a small garden to provide some of their own food. Historical information is scarce so we choose to plant vegetables that originated in Africa, such as okra, field peas, and peanuts, plus other staples that George might have adopted: potatoes and squash. In 2017 we added sunflowers, tried Moon and Stars watermelon, and tried three new peanut varieties.This garden is fenced in a wattle style, using branches and tree trimmings, such as George might have used to keep out the wildlife. Groundhogs and deer are our major challenges today, although we had fewer issues with these in 2017.


Our emphasis in these gardens is to display for the entertainment of visitors to the historical site, we don’t try to maximize production. We do produce quite a bit of food, though, which we share with the staff, but mostly we just have a good time. Additionally,we are always save seeds for growing the next season.


Butterfly Plants Attractors ...

and Host Plants

In the front Nature and Herb gardens, our focus is variety and visual appeal for visitors to the site, AND for butterflies and bees. Having been designated a Certified Monarch Waystation in 2014 we emphasize native plants and those that attract and/or serve as hosts for Monarch and other caterpillars.
We began documenting the types and number of caterpillars in 2015, and noted successful hosting of at least 3 dozen Monarch caterpillars, 3-4 dozen Gulf Fritillary caterpillars, Black Swallowtail caterpillars, and Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillars.


Our plans in 2018 for the Nature and Herb gardens include continuing work on the rock/brick edging and adding native plants for birds, butterflies, bees, and other beneficial insects.


March will be our “planning” time to review how our newer plants are working and to decide what we might want to add to these gardens in 2018. The Nature and Herb Gardens contain many plant varieties, including anise hyssop, aromatic aster, purple coneflower, orange coneflower, Tennessee coneflower, common milkweed, butterfly weed, blue anise sage, passion flower, pipe vine, and Prairie Coreopsis (to name a few). These plants will add to succession of blooms through the growing season. Species will provide both nectar for butterflies and hummingbirds and food for caterpillars.



We always have a lot going on at Tipton-Haynes! We welcome any Master Gardeners who are looking for a place to share fun and earn volunteer hours.

We welcome any Master Gardeners who are looking for a place to share fun and earn volunteer hours. Please contact us! We typically work on Thursday, but are flexible if YOU want to help on another day. Contact: Vern at vjornmaddux@embarqmail.com or Betts at BettsL@aol.com