Welcome to Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek!
Rodney Robinson Joins Delaware Botanic Gardens Advisory Council
Renowned landscape architect, Rodney Robinson, has accepted the invitation to be a member of the Delaware Botanic Gardens (DBG) Advisory Council. The Advisory Council is a group of distinguished public and private sector leaders who are assisting in the creation of the Delaware Botanic Gardens. The Advisory Council is chaired by Delaware’s First Lady, Carla Markell. “Rodney is a Delaware treasure. His designs have enhanced gardens across the state and throughout the country. His recent work to renovate the Gardens at Woodburn, the Governor’s official residence, is a prime example of his landscape creativity and dedication to natural beauty. Having Rodney join our efforts to create the Delaware Botanic Gardens is a major addition to the Advisory Council,” said Mrs. Markell.
Michael Zajic, President of DBG, said, “Rodney Robinson is a creative and inspirational landscape leader who has worked on many of the most beautiful public and private gardens in our country, including Chanticleer, Lewis Ginter Botanic Garden, Mount Cuba Center, the U.S. Botanic Garden at the Nation’s Capital and most recently the ongoing restoration of Nemours Mansion and Gardens. Having Rodney join our Advisory Council brings a respected landscape designer to our organization whose advice and guidance will be invaluable.”Rodney Robinson said, “It is a great honor to have this opportunity to work again with Carla Markell and Holly Schimizu to help create the Delaware Botanic Gardens. Public gardens are important elements of our community. They are places of inspiration and renewal. This project will be a great addition to our State and entire region.”
The Advisory Council led by Mrs. Markell is a group of distinguished leaders which includes Holly Shimizu, emerita Executive Director of the United States Botanic Garden; Collin O’Mara, Director of the National Wildlife Federation; Hugh Leahy, former Senior Vice President of the Delaware Community Foundation; and Nelson Shaffer, Executive Vice President/Chief Administrative Officer of Pennoni Associates.
The Delaware Botanic Gardens is a ten-year, multi-phase plan to bring a sense of place to Delmarva with a major public garden that reflects southern Delaware’s unique coastal plain. Its mission is to create inspirational, educational, and sustainable gardens in Delaware for the benefit and enjoyment of residents and visitors alike. The gardens will be located on 37 acres along Piney Neck Road, near Dagsboro in Sussex County. The parcel has an ideal mix of farmland, woodland and over 1000 feet of tidal waterfront on Pepper Creek.
Ground breaking is planned for early spring 2015, with an opening of the first phase of the garden in 2017.
The Spirit of Matt Haley
While planning the September Farm Dinner for the benefit of the Delaware Botanic Gardens, Matt Haley and Sue Ryan made several decisions — Plate Catering, SoDel and Good Earth Market would make the Botanic Garden Farm Dinner an annual event; the menu would showcase the outstanding talents of the SoDel chefs and Delmarva specialties; and Matt would become a member of the Botanic Garden’s Advisory Council. At the September 11 Farm Dinner, the 9/11 losses of thirteen years ago and Matt’s untimely death in August were on the minds of the 122 diners, the SoDel chefs & Plate Catering staff and Sue Ryan & her Good Earth team.
The evening’s result was just what Matt would have wanted. The Dinner was sold-out, the food was outrageously delicious and Matt’s spirit of generosity was in the air. When the diners were challenged by Chuck Coltman to match his $10,000 donation, the diners quickly pledged $10,000. Chuck raised his challenge to $15,000 and the diners again responded with pledges totaling $16,000 which Chuck matched. It was the kind of philanthropy in the spirit of giving back that so characterized Matt Haley’s outstanding contributions to our community. The evening resulted in the largest single fund raising event for the Delaware Botanic Gardens — over $ 40,000.
Sue Ryan, speaking on behalf of the Delaware Botanic Garden Board of Directors thanked the SoDel chefs for their amazing meal and the diners for their generosity and continuing support for the Botanic Garden project. She promised the gathering that the same high level of food & fun would continue in the coming years.
Farm Dinner Video!
Pennoni Executive Joins Delaware Botanic Gardens Advisory Council
Nelson J. Shaffer, Executive Vice President/Chief Administrative Officer of Pennoni Associates Inc. has accepted the invitation to be a member of the Delaware Botanic Gardens’ Advisory Council. The Advisory Council is a group of distinguished public and private sector leaders who are assisting in the creation of the Delaware Botanic Gardens. The Advisory Council is chaired by Delaware’s First Lady, Carla Markell. “Pennoni’s pro bono assistance to DBG is a remarkable testimony to the values of community service which Chuck Pennoni has imbued into his entire organization. I welcome Nelson to our Advisory Council. He and Pennoni represent the very best of corporate responsibility and volunteerism,” said Mrs. Markell.
Michael Zajic, President of DBG, said, “it is fitting that as we celebrate the placement of our Delaware Botanic Gardens sign on our site, that we welcome Nelson Shaffer of Pennoni to our Advisory Council. Pennoni has made it possible for our vision to become a real, ongoing project.”
Nelson Shaffer said, “We at Pennoni are very excited about this unique project. As a leading A&E firm, we have participated in some very wonderful and historic projects. The Delaware Botanic Gardens is our opportunity to work with a group of dedicated citizens who are creating a beautiful destination which will enhance the quality of life. We are proud of the great work our Milton Office, led by Mark Davidson, has given to DBG and we are committed to continuing our support.”
The Advisory Council led by Mrs. Markell is a group of distinguished leaders which includes Holly Shimizu, emerita Executive Director of the United States Botanic Garden; Collin O’Mara, Director of the National Wildlife Federation; Hugh Leahy, former Senior Vice President of the Delaware Community Foundation.
The Delaware Botanic Gardens is a ten year, multi-phase plan to bring a sense of place to Delmarva with a major public garden that reflects southern Delaware’s unique coastal plain. It’s mission is to create inspirational, educational, and sustainable gardens in Delaware for the benefit and enjoyment of residents and visitors alike. The gardens will be located on 37 acres along Piney Neck Road, near Dagsboro in Sussex County. The parcel has an ideal mix of farmland, woodland and over 1000 feet of tidal waterfront on Pepper Creek.
Ground breaking is planned for early spring 2015, with an opening of the first phase of the garden in 2017.
Contact: Raymond J. Sander 202-256-9501
Two Great Local Organizations Supporting a Great Local Project!
Matt Haley’s Sodel Concepts and Susan Ryan’s Good Earth Market and Organic Farm are joining together for a unique dining experience to benefit Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek: a Farm-to-Table Dinner on Thursday, September 11, 2014, 6:00 PM, at Good Earth Market in Ocean View, Delaware.
Join us as the sun sets for this special outdoor dining occasion! A fabulous dinner of locally grown foods prepared by Matt Haley — see his comments about Farm-to-Table dinners in the August issue of Delaware Beach Life! A cocktail hour, a silent auction, all in casual attire. The cost is $95 per person. Phone 302-537-7100 to reserve your spot today… seating for this popular event is limited.
Rain date is Sunday, September 14th, 2014.
Learn more about and follow the progress of Delaware Botanic Gardens on the website delawaregardens.org and check out Good Earth Market’s website goodearthmarket.com, and Matt Haley’s sodelconcepts.com.
Delaware Botanic Gardens Lease Signed
June 26, 2014
Delaware Botanic Gardens Lease Signed
The Sussex County Land Trust (SCLT) and the Delaware Botanic Gardens (DBG) achieved an historic milestone in the creation of a public Botanic Garden in Sussex County. By signing a renewable 99 year lease, the two non-profit organizations marked the official start of the multi-year process which will culminate in a world class Botanic Garden being built on the 37 acre site located on Piney Neck Road approximately 1 mile east of the Town of Dagsboro. This topographically significant site includes a mature upland forest and wetlands with over 1000 feet of waterfront along Pepper Creek.
Dennis Forney, Chair of the SCLT Board said “This Botanic Garden will become a special place that will enhance the quality of life here in Sussex County. Our residents and our visitors will treasure this Botanic Garden which will also serve to educate all to understand the value of conservation. In keeping with the overall mission of the SCLT, the Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek will enable us to pass on the best of our values to the next generation.”
Michael Zajic, Founder and President of the DBG Board thanked the SCLT Board for their vision, leadership and foresight for protecting and sustaining significant parcels of land throughout Sussex County. “By your commitment over the last 12 years, you have made Sussex County a more fulfilling place to live. My Board and I are equally committed to living up to the high standards the SCLT has set and to creating a beautiful, educational, public space for all Sussex residents and for visitors from our State and from across Delmarva.” Zajic concluded, “We need to recognize the generous pro bono contributions we have received from Sussex business leaders. The management and engineering expertise of Mark Davidson and the entire Pennoni organization have enabled this project to start. This historic lease would not have been possible without the great legal work of Heidi Gilmore of Baird Mandalas Brockstedt LLC and Jim Fuqua of Fuqua Yori and Willard PA. Now that we have taken the first step in making this dream a reality, we must begin the task of raising the funds needed to build this vision of accessible and sustainable recreational open space.”
Learn more about and follow the progress of Delaware Botanic Gardens on the website: delawaregardens.org.
First Lady Carla Markell Accepts the Honorary Chair of the Delaware Botanic Gardens Advisory Council
Delaware’s First Lady, Carla Markell, has agreed to serve as the Honorary Chair of the Advisory Council of the Delaware Botanic Gardens. On April 16 at Woodburn, the official residence of the governor of Delaware, Mrs. Markell met with a delegation from the gardens to review the project to be built in Dagsboro. “The Delaware Botanic Gardens is a proposal that all Delawareans can embrace” said Mrs. Markell. “I am impressed with the leadership and spirit of volunteerism demonstrated by the citizens who have developed this project,” she added, “and am honored to join with them as the chair of their Advisory Council to help make these gardens a reality for Delaware.”
Mrs. Markell will be leading the Delaware Botanic Gardens Advisory Council, which to date includes Holly Shimizu, Executive Director of the United States Botanic Garden; Collin O’Mara, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control; and Hugh Leahy, former Senior Vice-President of the Delaware Community Foundation.
This distinguished group of leaders will bring a wide range of experience and knowledge to the project. Mike Zajic, President of the Delaware Botanic Gardens, said, “The First Lady’s leadership and knowledge of our state are invaluable. Holly Shimizu’s role in managing several Botanic Gardens in the United States will enable us to have the benefit of her extensive experience. Secretary Collin O’Mara’s insight and commitment to the environment will ensure that the Delaware Botanic Gardens will be a leader in the stewardship of this beautiful site, and Hugh Leahy’s extensive expertise in financial services and philanthropy will strengthen our planning and development. I and the Board of Directors are very fortunate to have the guidance and advice of these talented, dedicated professionals,” noted Zajic.
The Delaware Botanic Gardens is a ten-year, three-phase plan to bring a world-class public garden to Delmarva. Its mission is to create inspirational, educational, and sustainable gardens in Delaware for the benefit and enjoyment of residents and visitors alike. The gardens will be located on 37 acres along Piney Neck Road, near Dagsboro in Sussex County, including 1010 feet of tidal waterfront on Pepper Creek. Groundbreaking is planned for early fall 2014, with an opening to the public targeted for June 20, 2016 (the summer solstice).
Learn about and follow the progress of the nonprofit Delaware Botanic Gardens on the website www.DelawareGardens.org.
The Story of Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek
Two years ago, in recognition of the unmet demand for locally accessible horticulture education and gardening resources, a group of Delaware citizens organized a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation to create a center for botanic expertise and education here in Delmarva.
What we have been able to accomplish is due to the strength of our vision, the creativeness of our site plan, the determination of our board, the strong support of our members and supporters, and the generosity of the Sussex County Land Trust (SCLT) and key business partners.
The Need. We believe that Delmarva is a prime location for Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek. There is a growing year-round population in Sussex and Kent Counties, seven million annual tourists looking for new places to visit, an active corps of gardeners and farmers, and a great interest in finding ways to bring children back in touch with nature and the outdoors.
The Solution. Just outside Dagsboro, Delaware, we have identified a 37 acre site with 1000 feet of tidal waterfront on Pepper Creek. This topographically significant site is valued at $1.3 million and wonderfully located on the gently rolling, verdant, sandy coastal plain where it slopes to a broad, navigable tidal creek flowing to the Atlantic Ocean. Our long-term lease with the SCLT will ensure a lasting commitment to the Botanic Gardens.
Progress to Date. We have secured zoning approval for this site and received over $100,000 of professional engineering, design and legal pro bono contributions from leading companies in Delaware. We have received support from elected officials from the town of Dagsboro, from Sussex County, from the Delaware Executive and Legislative Branches and from our State’s elected Federal representatives.
We received our first foundation grant of $10,000 in November, 2013, and in December, 2013, completed our first fundraising drive with a positive result. In March, 2014, our Economic Impact Analysis was underwritten by Delaware’s Department of Economic Development and the Department of Agriculture, and we were awarded our second foundation grant from the Crestlea Foundation.
Next Steps. The “Open the Garden Gates” Fundraising Campaign will enable us to plant our Woodland Gardens and build the freshwater canal, the wetlands walkways, and temporary structures for events, teaching, plant propagation and visitor amenities. These features will enable us to begin to welcome visitors in time for the Summer Solstice in 2016.
Call to Action. Join us to help create the Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek — it is the answer to a long standing need, will enhance the quality of life for all the citizens of our State and Region, and create new jobs. Together we can bring the power of gardens to enrich our lives, improve our health, teach us and our children, and connect us all to nature. Our gardens will be unique and a place to celebrate the Circle of Life.
Please contribute, become a member, volunteer, underwrite a Naming Opportunity — we need your help to “Open the Garden Gates.”
DBG Board briefs Governor Markell on January 28, 2014
The Delaware Botanic Gardens (DBG) Board and their Corporate Partners had an excellent meeting with Governor Jack Markell on January 28th in his Statehouse office in Dover.
The cordial discussion capped a series of meetings with Executive and Legislative Branch leaders who all gave DBG enthusiastic support. The Governor expressed his thanks to the Board & Corporate Partners for their work which represented the best of Delaware — citizens coming together in recognition of a public need and working with public & private leaders throughout the State to make a valuable addition to Delaware — a world class Botanic Garden.
The mission of the DBG is to create inspirational, educational, and sustainable public gardens in Delmarva for the benefit and enjoyment of all. The Delaware Botanic Gardens will be located on 37 acres, including 1010 feet of tidal waterfront on Pepper Creek, on Piney Neck Road near Dagsboro in Sussex County. DBG is embarked on a 10-year, 3 phase plan to bring a world class garden to our state. Ground Breaking is planned for early fall 2014 with a target of opening to the public on June 20, (the solstice) 2016. Learn about and follow the progress of the non-profit Delaware Botanic Gardens on their website: delawaregardens.org.
Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek (Southern Delaware Botanic Gardens, Inc.), strives to exalt Nature’s beauty, to delight and educate visitors, and to study and preserve Delmarva’s natural ecosystems through the creation of a unique, sustainable, accessible world-class garden for the benefit of the public.
The site at Pepper Creek.
From inception in January 2012, membership and support has grown daily. We envision, and have public, political and press support for, founding a large public flagship garden with a conservatory, visitor and nature centers, children’s garden, wildflower meadow and labyrinth, so that Delmarva becomes a garden lovers’ paradise. If you wish to do something of lasting good in this world, help us found a public botanic garden. Help us and watch it happen!
Brochure — April 2014