Welcome to Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek!
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