A Garden Tour: The Delaware Botanic Gardens


The Delaware Botanic Gardens hosted their grand opening celebration last month and our art director, Laura Harris Twilley, had the chance to tour the grounds, from the meadow garden that Piet Oudolf designed to the Folly Garden, built around the ruins of the property’s original 20th century farmhouse. Situated on Pepper Creek just a few miles from the coast, the Gardens is a gem that brings beauty, tranquility, and a new perspective to the surrounding area. Read on for our chat with the gardens’ executive director, Sheryl Swed, to learn more.

terrain: Congratulations on the grand opening, Sheryl! We’re thrilled that after eight years, the gardens are open to the public! Can you give us the basics of what to expect during a visit to DBG?

Sheryl: Thank you! And sure, the Gardens are established on a 37 acre topographically interesting site outside of Dagsboro, Delaware. The two acre Meadow Garden designed by Piet Oudolf is the jewel in the crown of our gardens. In the spring, you can enjoy the Folly Garden which blooms with over 25,000 spring flowers; in summer the Meadow Garden is breathtaking with over 70,000 plants and grasses painting an amazing picture. In the fall, the Meadow is still beautiful as it changes to autumn colors and the muhlygrass turns pink throughout the meadow. We are waiting to see how our Garden looks with a winter snow.

terrain: What is your favorite part of the gardens? Do guests have a favorite spot yet?

Sheryl: One of my favorite parts of the garden is The Point which is in the Woodlands overlooking Pepper Creek, a very peaceful and beautiful setting. The Welcome Center, nestled between the Woodlands Edge and Meadow Garden, has charmed many of our guests with its rustic but elegant style. DBG is unique because it is managed and run almost entirely by volunteers, from the Board members to the garden stewards and the Welcome Center docents. 

terrain: Are these oversized birds’ nests we’re looking at in the photo above? We’re also big fans of Piet Oudolf so it’s always exciting to see new work.

Sheryl: Yes! We have huge birds’ nests scattered throughout the Woodlands Garden and were created as a bit of whimsy by our volunteers. The Piet Oudolf Meadow Garden is home to over 70,000 plants and grasses and were planted by volunteers under the guidance of Piet himself.

Like this post? Be sure to check out our interview with Tom Piper, director of Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf, our Chanticleer Garden Tour, and our how-to guide for planting a meadow garden at home.

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