Behind the Scenes Preview at Delaware Botanic Gardens

For immediate release April 14, 2018

There is a rare opportunity for people who love nature and gardening to have a Behind the Scenes preview at the Delaware Botanic Gardens (DBG) in Dagsboro on May 4.  Bear in mind that the gardens are being built from scratch by Delmarva professionals and volunteers.  As Ray Sander, President of DBG, states “not many people have ever seen the birth of a botanic garden in the first stage of development.”  In fact, over 50 local and visiting volunteers will have just added 30,000 plants to the Meadow Garden.  Be among the first to see this garden.

  Piet Oudolf working in the Delaware Botanic Gardens meadow Photo by ray bojarski

Piet Oudolf working in the Delaware Botanic Gardens meadow
Photo by ray bojarski

The centerpiece of this event is a chance to meet Piet Oudolf, the internationally renowned Dutch garden designer, who will be walking the Meadow path and discussing his iconic design.

Dogfish Head Brewery is the sponsor of this DBG fundraising event, so you can “Sip and Saunter” through the Meadow Garden.  Sander believes, “this is truly a rare behind the scenes preview of what will become a wonderful experience for both locals and visitors”.

For more information about this fund raising event and to purchase tickets, visit the DBG website at www.delawaregardens.org/new-events/2018-sip-and-saunter.  You may also text, call Sheryl Swed at 202-262-9856 or email her at sherylswed@delawaregardens.org for details.

Celebrate Spring with DBG

For immediate release March 2, 2018

Gardeners are beginning to get their boots wet, as they survey their slowly waking gardens.  The early daffodils are up. Gardeners everywhere will soon be planting.  On a larger scale, that’s what’s happening at the new Delaware Botanic Gardens (DBG) at Pepper Creek.

Gregg Tepper, DBG Director of Horticulture, observed, “With warmer temperatures arriving and increasing day length, I’m seeing many of the perennials planted last year in the Meadow Garden beginning to break the soil surface showing that spring will soon be here.”

The 2-acre Meadow Garden, designed by internationally known Dutch designer, Piet Oudolf is the jewel in the crown of DBG. When completely planted, this garden will have 70,000 herbaceous perennials and grasses.

DBG needs support for its next spring planting of 30,000 herbaceous perennials and grasses, which our volunteers will lovingly “hand plant” in late April-early May.

Ray Sander, President of Delaware Botanic Garden (DBG) said, “We call on our Delmarva neighbors and friends to support the second phase of the planting of the Piet Oudolf Meadow Garden.”

A www.gofundme.com/DelawareBotanicGardens has been set up for those wishing to contribute to the purchase of plants for the Meadow Garden.

The mission of the Gardens is to create an inspirational, educational, and sustainable public garden in Delaware for the benefit and enjoyment of all. The Delaware Botanic Gardens will celebrate the coastal plain with a sustainable garden that delights and educates visitors and inspires them to preserve Delmarva’s native landscape.

Further information on the Delaware Botanic Gardens, including membership, and volunteering go to www.delawaregardens.org and www.facebook.com/delawaregardens.

Sedum in the Folly Garden
by Ray Borjarski

 

Delaware Botanic Gardens New Appointments

For immediate release February 23, 2018

At the February 2018 Board meeting of the Delaware Botanic Garden (DBG), Ray Sander, DBG President noted, “DBG is by every measure a community garden. While it has attracted nationally and internationally renowned designers and highly respected engineering and construction experts, the project’s workforce is drawn almost exclusively from dedicated volunteers who live here on Delmarva. It is within this context that we proudly announce the build-out of the DBG team, with additional respected community volunteers to help us achieve the reality of a flagship public garden on Pepper Creek.”

The Board of Directors and Carla Markell, Chair of the Advisory Council have appointed two new members to the DBG Advisory Council – LeDee Lickle Wakefield and David C. Doane.  Markell, said, “As the creation of this exceptional public garden becomes a reality, we are honored to welcome these experienced leaders from across our state to our Advisory Council.  Their proven records of community service and success further enhance the entire DBG effort.”

LeDee Lickle Wakefield, is a native of Wilmington, and the comptroller at The Inn at Montchanin Village and Spa. She is also an event planner, who has dedicated herself to community service through her extensive experience on the Boards of Preservation Delaware, Young Friends of the Brandywine River Museum, Delaware Guidance Services (DGS), and Paws for People. LeDee remarked, “When I saw the Pepper Creek site and the vision for this remarkable public garden, I wanted to be part of the effort to create this beautiful asset which will be a destination to all who live in and visit Delaware.”

David C. Doane, CPA, served on the DBG Board and now will join the Advisory Council. David is vice-president of Jefferson, Urian, Doane & Sterner, P.A., where he has specialized in family owned business enterprise matters.  David has an extensive history of community service including, past president of Rehoboth/Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce, and a life long association with Easter Seals, where he most recently co-chaired its capital campaign. He serves on several boards, such as Pyle Center Trust, and the Sussex Advisory Board for the Delaware Community Foundation.  David has recently joined the Board of Directors of Bank of Delmarva. David said, “I have been honored to serve on the Board with such dedicated colleagues. Joining the Advisory Council will enable me to continue with this project, which will be a major addition to Sussex County.”

The Board of the Delaware Botanic Gardens (DBG) also announced other new appointments.

Carol McCloud, Vice President

Ray Sander, DBG President, said, “Carol has served as a key Board Member, and has stepped up to assist the executive leadership team on daily operations.”

Carol, a Wilmington, DE native, is the former president of the Barefoot Gardeners Club in Fenwick Island and a State Life Member of the Delaware Federation of Garden Clubs.  Carol retired from W.L. Gore and Associates, Newark, DE where she specialized in Payroll & Benefits, Computer Software Implementation of both People Soft and Occupational Health Services.  She is SHRM certified in Human Resources & Payroll. Her community service for the Town of Fenwick Island focuses on beach dune preservation and Earth Day activities. She is also a member of the Fenwick Island Historical Group. For several years, she has been a volunteer for Delaware Botanic Gardens and is Chair of the DBG Speakers/Tour Bureau. She lives in Fenwick Island, DE.

Grant Watchorn, Corporate Treasurer & Board Officer

Grant replaces Richard W. Weissmann, who served as Treasurer over the past year.  The Board noted, “We salute and thank Rich for guiding us through the complex financial details that are part of a startup garden. We welcome Grant aboard.”

Grant is a CPA, holds a BS in Accounting, an MBA, and graduate studies in both information systems and logistics management. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran, working in logistic management. He has extensive corporate experience at Western Electric Co., Westinghouse Electric Systems Group and Northrop Grumman Corp.  Since his retirement from Grumman, Grant has provided pro-bono financial services to several non-profits, including AARP. He lives in Ocean View, DE. Grant said, “After settling into the Bethany Beach area, I started looking for opportunities where I could utilize my interests, skills, and experience. When I first visited the Delaware Botanic Gardens it seemed like a good fit, so now I’m on the team and look forward to my time working with them.”

Sally Boswell, Development and Outreach staff

Sally joins the DBG staff after serving for twelve years as Outreach and Education Coordinator for the Delaware Center for Inland Bays. She is a seasoned communications professional with a proven track record in the non-profit and private sectors. She has spent her career in non-profit communications serving the City of Baltimore, Maryland Public Television, and John Hopkins University before launching a business in Baltimore. Sally has served on numerous boards including the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, BioTrek Naturalists, and the Rehoboth Art League. She holds a B.A, degree in Communications Arts from Salisbury University and Masters in Liberal Arts from John Hopkins University. She continues to serve on the DBG Advisory Council.

DBG Executive Director, Sheryl Swed said, “We are honored that this exceptional project continues to attract the interest and support of leaders from across the region offering their experience and expertise to this landmark project. All these appointments are further indications that we are moving full speed ahead as we build our team aimed at opening the garden gates in 2019.”

Further information on the Delaware Botanic Gardens, including membership, volunteering and donations, go to www.delawaregardens.org and www.facebook.com/delawaregardens

The Delaware Botanic Gardens is Planning for Spring!

For immediate release January 25, 2018

It’s January. The days are lengthening minute by minute, but the ground is frozen, the nighttime temperatures are bitterly cold, and spring seems a distant hope.  Still, the seeds have arrived at the hardware stores and garden centers, and just the sight of them inspires dreams of summer’s flowering gardens.

At the Delaware Botanic Gardens on Pepper Creek, there has been no pause for winter.    It is a giant leap of faith and a boatload of blood, sweat and tears to create a botanic garden from 37 acres of fallow farm fields and sloping woodlands. There are the things seen…the flowers, trees and pathways…and the things unseen…electrical service, irrigation and utilities.  All in need of donations to make them happen.

In December, the DBG was awarded a generous multi-year grant from the Ellice & Rosa McDonald Foundation toward the creation of the Entry Garden which includes the drive in from Piney Neck Road, the parking area, and the Rhyne Garden which will capture and filter run-off water from the adjacent building and paved surfaces.

 Many of our volunteers at the 2017 Delaware Botanic Gardens Volunteer Appreciation dinner stand behind Gregg Tepper, Cam Yorkston, Ray Sander and Sheryl Swed who are displaying the grant check from the Ellice & Rosa McDonald Foundation.

Many of our volunteers at the 2017 Delaware Botanic Gardens Volunteer Appreciation dinner stand behind Gregg Tepper, Cam Yorkston, Ray Sander and Sheryl Swed who are displaying the grant check from the Ellice & Rosa McDonald Foundation.

Executive Director, Sheryl Swed said, “We are grateful for this leadership grant for this important garden that will welcome visitors to the Delaware Botanic Garden, and hope that it will inspire others to donate so that it can go forward.”                                

Ray Sander, DBG President of the Board expressed thanks to the 137 friends and members who made donations to the Gardens between ‘Giving Tuesday’ in November and the year end, totaling nearly $30 thousand, but said “there is still a steep hill to climb and many new friends to be made.  As we begin 2018, we have raised over $2 million for this visionary project and 95% of these funds have been spent here in Delaware with local firms and businesses, which in turn helped create and sustain jobs in our region.  $1.5 million is still needed to complete the work in Phase One to ‘Open the Garden Gates.’” He noted that for those who would like to make a legacy gift, there are opportunities for individuals to name a garden in memory or in honor of a loved one or family.

Creating a botanic garden from the ground up is a costly endeavor. Gregg Tepper, DBG Director of Horticulture said, “We are grateful for the tremendous encouragement and support we’ve received from the horticultural community. The in-kind donations from these partners and the work of our volunteers is so important to our success.”

In September, the DBG will hold it’s annual ‘farm dinner’ in the Gardens for the first time—it will be a chance for the public to get a first look at the Delaware Botanic Gardens and see the Meadow Garden, designed by internationally renowned Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf, in bloom for the first time. Tickets will go on sale this summer.

The mission of the Gardens is to create an inspirational, educational, and sustainable public garden in Delaware for the benefit and enjoyment of all. The Delaware Botanic Gardens will celebrate the coastal plain with a sustainable garden that delights and educates visitors and inspires them to preserve Delmarva’s native landscapes.

Further information on the Delaware Botanic Gardens, including membership and donations, go to delawaregardens.org and facebook.com/delawaregardens.

Press release as seen in the Cape Gazette.

Delaware Botanic Gardens Makes Major Leap Forward Toward ‘Opening the Garden Gates’ in 2019

This month the Delaware Botanic Gardens on Pepper Creek took a major leap forward in its drive to become a landmark public garden in the region, and a tourist destination for Delaware

The internationally renowned Dutch garden designer, Piet Oudolf, whose planting design for New York City’s famed greenway, the High Line, draws millions of visitors each year, arrived in Dagsboro just after Labor Day to oversee the planting of the first phase of the Delmarva Meadow at the Delaware Botanic Gardens.  This is his first installation in the mid-Atlantic region. 

For the DBG, Mr. Oudolf designed one of his iconic perennial meadows using over 65,000 plants, primarily native varieties, each placed to create a landscape of year-around beauty with color, texture and movement.  Gregg Tepper, DBG Director of Horticulture, noted that “butterflies, bluebirds and goldfinches arrived to the meadow while we were still planting—a great sign that the meadow will not only inspire and delight people, but will attract the birds, bees and other pollinators so essential to our gardens and to our farms on Delmarva.”

Holly Shimizu, former Executive Director of the United States Botanic Garden and Advisory Council member for DBG said that, “This garden will confirm the astounding beauty that can be achieved through the artistic, thoughtful and sensitive placement of beautiful plants in a meadow environment.

“Piet Oudolf’s design for the Delmarva Meadow is absolutely brilliant, and the planting that has just been completed brings that brilliance to life,” said Donald Rakow, DBG

Advisory Council member and Associate Professor at Cornell University and Fellow at the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future. Rodney D. Robinson, Advisory Council member and landscape architect and designer said, “The creation of this extraordinary Meadow Garden is a major accomplishment for any public garden.  I can't think of a better way to introduce the Delaware Botanic Gardens to the public.” 

Over five days, 17,000 plants were placed and planted by more than fifty volunteers working in teams, each led by professional horticulturists and landscape contractors, many volunteering their time for the opportunity to work with Piet Oudolf.

Barbara Katz, Advisory Council member and owner of London Landscapes, who worked with DBG Horticulturist, Gregg Tepper to plan and organize the monumental planting project, lauded “the exceptional enthusiasm, patience and skill of the myriad volunteers that created a laser-focused atmosphere, vibrating with positive energy.”

“Many horticulturists and landscape contractors not only shared their expertise but also made generous in-kind donations, to help propel the project,” said Executive Director Sheryl Swed.

Looking ahead, DBG Board President, Ray Sander said, “"When the public sees the beauty of this Delmarva Meadow, there will be a realization that having a Piet Oudolf Meadow in Delaware is the gardening equivalent of having Amazon and Apple select Delaware for their headquarters."  

The world is already taking notice. In a Washington Post article published this week, author and veteran gardening columnist Adrian Higgins recalled walking the site alone with Oudolf, “…the rock star from Hummelo turned to me and said: ‘The garden scene here is small.  But so much energy.  It’s unbelievable.’”

After visiting the Gardens, Mr. Higgins had his own high praise, “If cultural institutions were boxers, the DBG would be Rocky Balboa, an underdog with a seemingly uncrushable spirit.”

The Board of Directors of the Delaware Botanic Gardens hopes to ‘Open the Garden Gates’ in 2019.

A series of videos documenting the planting of the meadow can be viewed on the DBG website at delawaregardens.org  Other videos of the Gardens are on the DBG YouTube channel at youtube.com/channel/UCAvrTN_li6I2gDR6NswkvsA

The Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek has embarked on a multiyear, multiphase plan to establish a flagship botanic garden for Delmarva that manifests the values motivating all garden lovers everywhere—from the magnificence of nature to the role of horticulture in learning, enjoyment, health and conservation.

Founded in 2012 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the Delaware Botanic Gardens will celebrate the coastal plain with a flagship sustainable garden that delights and educates visitors and inspires them to preserve Delmarva’s native landscapes.

Further information on the Delaware Botanic Gardens, including membership and donations, go to delawaregardens.org and facebook.com/delawaregardens

Carla Markell Appoints Four Members to the Delaware Botanic Gardens Advisory Council

The Board of the Delaware Botanic Gardens (DBG) and Carla Markell announced the appointment of four new members to the DBG Advisory Council.  In naming the new members, Shawn M. Garvin, Barbara Katz, Sally Boswell and Diane Maddex, Markell, chair of the Advisory Council said, "As the vision of this world class public garden becomes a reality, we are honored to welcome these experienced new advisers to our team."    

DBG Executive Director, Sheryl Swed said, "We are honored that this exceptional project continues to attract the interest and support of thought leaders from across the region offering their experience and expertise to this landmark project."

Shawn Garvin, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) has 25 years of experience in environmental matters and public health, most recently as Environmental Protection Agency regional administrator prior to his DNREC appointment.  He joins his two DNREC predecessors on the Advisory Council; David Small, now a Senior Consultant with Duffield Associates, and Collin O’Mara, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Having the participation and guidance of these three environmental leaders, will ensure that DBG achieves our vision, mission and commitment to preservation and land stewardship,” said Swed.                    

Barbara Katz, a widely respected landscape designer and landscape industry leader brings 30 years of experience to the Advisory Council, strengthening the DGB’s connection to leading professional nurseries which are important sources for the public gardens' creation. Katz was responsible for introducing world renowned landscaped designer, Piet Oudolf, to the Delaware Botanic Garden. Oudolf is designing the Delmarva Meadow, one of the major features of the DBG and his first installation in the mid-Atlantic region.  Katz has worked closely with DGB Director of Horticulture, Gregg Tepper, to identify and secure over 65 thousand plants that Oudolf selected for the Delmarva Meadow. Planting of the meadow is scheduled to begin in September.

Sally Boswell has demonstrated her leadership and commitment to conservation and environmental protection as an educator and nonprofit leader in Delaware. She brings more than three decades of experience in public affairs, communications, project management and strategic planning.  For twelve years, she directed the education and outreach program at the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays.   “Boswell’s experience directing environmental education programs will be a great accelerator to DGB's education mission and the Dogfish Head Outdoor Living Classroom being built in conjunction with Envirotech Environmental Consulting.  We also look forward to benefiting from her extensive knowledge of the Delmarva region in support of public outreach and fundraising on behalf of the DBG.” according to Swed.

As a DBG Board member, Diane Maddex was a major contributor in the development of the Delaware Botanic Gardens’ branding, bringing her skills and aesthetic eye to the design of the website and publications. She is an award-winning architectural author and had a key role in attracting Lake/Flato, an architectural firm known for its leadership in ‘place-based sustainable architecture’ to the DBG project.  “A DBG Board Member the past several years,” Swed said, “we are grateful that Diane will continue to share her great knowledge of architecture and design as a member of the Advisory Council.”

Ray Sander, DBG President, said, "With the addition of these four outstanding professionals to the Advisory Council plus the previously announced appointment of Susan Ryan, our former DBG President, we go forward with a group of remarkable individuals who have achieved exceptional public and private sector accomplishments. As members of our Advisory Council they are bringing their intellectual firepower and energy to help create this wonderful addition to life on Delmarva -- the Delaware Botanic Gardens"

Upcoming events include a September 8th lecture by Piet Oudolf, including a preview of a recently completed documentary of Oudolf's work at Lewes Public Library; followed by a private reception with Oudolf at the Dogfish Head Inn in Lewes. The Annual DBG Farm Dinner at Good Earth Farm is planned for September 28.  Tickets for these events are on sale now at delawaregardens.org.

The Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek has embarked on a multiyear, multiphase plan to establish a flagship botanic garden for Delmarva that manifests the values motivating all garden lovers everywhere—from the magnificence of nature to the role of horticulture in learning, enjoyment, health and conservation. Founded in 2012 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the Delaware Botanic Gardens will celebrate the coastal plain with a flagship sustainable garden that delights and educates visitors and inspires them to preserve Delmarva’s native landscapes.

Further information on the Delaware Botanic Gardens, including membership and donations, go to delawaregardens.org and facebook.com/delawaregardens 

New president and board members for DBG

New president and board members for DBG

Raymond J. Sander was elected president of the Delaware Botanic Gardens at the March meeting of the organization’s board of directors. Susan Ryan, who led the group as president for nearly two years, passed the baton to Sander, who was serving as vice president and manager of the new garden's construction contracts.

"I am proud of our project and the accomplishments we have made over the last two years to get to this point,” said Ryan, owner of Good Earth Market and Organic Farm. “I appreciate the opportunity to have worked with so many talented people. On the eve of breaking ground, with a professional construction management team and most contracts and funds in place, this innovative project is well on its way to accomplishing the first part of its master plan in 2017.”

Sander announced that “a few of our stalwart board members have also justifiably asked to be relieved of their responsibilities. DBG says farewell to two board members who have contributed to many of our recent accomplishments. As treasurer, David Green has taken DBG from managing its finances in a checkbook to a fully automated accounting system managed by a professional accounting firm. He has overseen the CPA firm that has reviewed our financial records for two succeeding cycles.” The new president also noted that Diane Maddex, DBG’s webmaster, editor, and graphic designer, “recreated the DBG web site as an inspirational presentation of our project. Her creativity and long experience in the publishing industry have also been reflected in DBG's publications.”

Read More

Master plan prepared

Master plan prepared

A master plan presenting a detailed vision for the Delaware Botanic Gardens in Sussex County has been prepared by Robinson Anderson Summers, Inc., noted landscape architects in Wilmington, Delaware. The plan represents the contributions of RAS and the garden’s other team members: Piet Oudolf, an internationally renowned meadow designer; Lake/Flato, an award-winning architecture firm that promotes sustainable buildings; Pennoni Associates, a multidisciplinary engineering firm serving clients worldwide; and Bancroft Construction Company, whose related clients in the Mid-Atlantic region include Longwood Gardens. 

The public is invited to attend the release of the 32-page plan, to be held on March 30 at 6:30 p.m. and hosted by the Delaware Nature Society at its Ashland Nature Center, 3511 Barley Mill Road, Hockessin, DE 19707.  Rodney Robinson, FASLA, LEED AP, and Allan Summers, RLA, LEED AP, key principals of RAS on the project, will provide an illustrated lecture on the garden’s scope and attractions. The event is open to the public without charge. Please Rsvp to DBG Executive Director Sheryl Swed at sherylswed@delawaregardens.org or call 202-262-9856.

To read the complete master plan, click here.

Read More

Dogfish Head to sponsor DBG's Living Outdoor Classroom

 Dogfish Head to sponsor DBG's Living Outdoor Classroom

When the Delaware Botanic Gardens opens, one of its most important features will be a Living Outdoor Classroom. This vital educational tool has moved closer to realization with the support of the Dogfish Head Companies, which has pledged $30,000 to create this learning center in the public garden being built along Pepper Creek. The natural area—centered on a freshwater intermittent wetland—will be named the Dogfish Head Outdoor Classroom.


Designed for visitors of all ages, this educational attraction was included in the garden plan to reconnect educators, children, and adults with nature. Studies show that natural spaces and materials stimulate imagination and spur inventiveness and creativity. Nature-based learning also calms and reduces stress while it promotes exploration and discovery.  


“We are thrilled to be able to contribute to environmental education in our region through this outdoor classroom,” said Mariah Calagione of Dogfish Head, the brewery and distillery in Milton that has brought national recognition to Delaware. “Motivating people to go outside more has become so important in our internet age. This feature of the garden will expand the area’s opportunities for learning about nature.”

Read More

The Delaware Botanic Gardens launches phase one

The Delaware Botanic Gardens launches phase one

Governor Jack Markell and First Lady Carla Markell led a delegation of notable Delawareans to launch the first phase of the Delaware Botanic Gardens on December 1. More than 175 enthusiastic supporters turned out at the site along Pepper Creek to tour and show their support for this first public garden in southern Delmarva.

“I’m so impressed with what you’ve done here,” said Governor Markell, who called the garden’s initial development over the past four years “an awesome job.” As he told the garden leaders—including President Susan Ryan, Executive Director Sheryl Swed, and Vice President Ray Sander—“You had a very compelling vision.”

Markell also called his wife, Carla, “a great cheerleader” in her role as chair of the DBG Advisory Council. Among her contributions to the project was persuading the noted landscape architect Rodney Robinson of Robinson Anderson Summers in Wilmington to take the lead in refining the garden's original site plan and in creating its master plan.

Read More