The Piet Oudolf meadow takes shape

Volunteers, led by DBG Horticulture Director Gregg Tepper, came out to prepare and plant the meadow's middle section during the week of September 5. Piet Oudolf then arrived to inspect the work and decided to build up and smooth out the elevated viewing mound. Thanks to the many dedicated volunteers who came from across the country and to our photographers: Ken Arni, Raymond Bojarski, Barbara Katz, Janet Point, Gregg Tepper, and all who contributed.

Spring is springing

Spring is springing at the Delaware Botanic Gardens. The Hamamelis vernalis 'Amethyst' is in bloom in the woodlands. Lavender-purple blossoms on this spring witch hazel naturally appear in February here, adding a clean witch hazel scent to the garden.


Through the generosity of Longwood Gardens, nine mature shrubs raised in its trial gardens were transplanted at the Delaware Botanic Gardens on a mild February day. The Florida anise shrubs (Illicium floridanum) now surround the Delmarva Bay wetland on DBG's eastern side. When they were no longer needed at the Pennsylvania garden, Longwood offered them to DBG. Pete Irwin of Irwin Landscaping in Hockessin, Delaware, transported them to Dagsboro and installed them with the assistance of several members of the company's landscape team. Found throughout the coastal plain and the piedmont, the anise shrubs thrive in low riparian areas such as the DBG site along Pepper Creek.

Installation photographs by Raymond Bojarski. Closeup and site photographs by Gregg Tepper

A new tree grows in our garden

Members of the Barefoot Gardeners of Fenwick Island, DE., came out to the garden recently to plant a tree that they donated in honor of Arbor Day. The tree is a Halesia monticola, commonly known as mountain silverbell (athough it grows well in the sandy loams of the coastal plain). Left to right in back surrounding me are Karen Dudley and the local publisher Susan Lyons. Seated are Carol McCloud and Chris Clark, a photographer who is one of our volunteers.

Our unique Delmarva bay habitat

Here are some pictures of the east wooded wetland at our property. This is such a unique habitat, known locally as a Delmarva bay. It is only a few hundred feet away from the edge of Pepper Creek, and on the topography map it sits a mere 2–3 feet above sea level. Each time it rains it fills with water, but once the rain subsides the fresh water slowly seeps out over several days, and it stays as a low, perpetually moist area. This is a specialized habitat for flora and fauna alike.

The fern that thrives here is Woodwardia areolata, known commonly as netted chain fern. It is an indicator of areas that stay perpetually moist but not in standing water. Also naturally present are Viola blanda and Carex lurida. 

Because of this unique set of circumstances, we are also planning to feature a moss garden nearby. The orange flags note areas where I have trialed other native plants requiring consistent moisture.