Delaware Botanic Gardens lecture series announced

Date Published: 
september 16, 2016

The Delaware Botanic Gardens has selected four expert speakers for its upcoming lecture series, beginning in September 2016 and continuing through April 2017. Admission to all lectures is free.

• Sept. 24 — Donald Pell, “Embracing the Regional Landscape,” 10 a.m. to noon, South Coastal Library, 43 Kent Avenue, Bethany Beach.

Pell is the founder and principal landscape designer for Donald Pell Gardens, located in southeastern Pennsylvania. With more than 20 years in the industry, he is known for creating immersive gardens that embrace place and evoke the inherent beauty of regional landscapes. He calls his gardens “impressionistic models of regional landscapes.”

Understanding the biology of specific plants and how they integrate into a landscape is considered the key to programming these gardens, and Pell will discuss how cool- and warm-season plants are selected to stabilize soils and create desirable compositions and will survey the role of ephemeral plants in building desirable seed banks while a garden is evolving. Also covered will be management of aggressive and thuggish plants and the successes and failures of landscaping projects.

• Oct. 29 — Holly Shimizu, “Lessons from a New Garden,” 10 a.m. to noon, new Lewes Library, 111 Adams Avenue, Lewes.

Having recently designed and developed a Delaware garden with her husband, Osamu Shimizu, a garden designer, Holly Shimizu will focus on lessons learned and how her approach to gardening has changed over time. Along with some good horticultural guidance, she will examine questions such as “What makes a great garden?” “How do we create garden spaces that are sanctuaries?” “How can we blend stewardship practices into our own horticultural endeavors?”

Shimizu was the executive director of the United States Botanic Garden, located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for more than 14 years and costarred in the television series “The Victory Garden.” She is also a member of the Advisory Council of the Delaware Botanic Gardens.

• Feb. 25, 2017 — Ruth Rogers Clausen, “Deer-Resistant Native Perennials,” 10 a.m. to noon, Enrichment Center, East Coast Nursery, 3066 Cordrey Road, Millsboro.

Ruth Rogers Clausen was trained in horticulture in the United Kingdom and has been in the “green” industry for more than 50 years, primarily based in the Midwest and the Northeast. Her books include “Perennials for American Gardens” (coauthored), “Dreamscaping,” “50 Beautiful Deer-Resistant Plants,” and “Essential Perennials” (coauthored). She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Delaware Botanic Gardens.

Deer browsing has become one of the major problems deterring gardeners from growing ornamentals of all kinds. Choosing plants that deer find unpalatable is perhaps the best defense against them, without depending on expensive fences or regular spraying with deer deterrents. Clausen will highlight some native perennials that deer do not find appealing. Tips and tricks that make a garden less inviting to your local herd will also be discussed. Although there is no such thing as a deer-proof garden in deer country, lots of natives can be used to landscape your property. Learn how to make it deer tolerant rather than fight nature to protect your landscape.

• April 22, 2017 — Sam Droege, “Native Bees in Delaware: Co-creators of Delaware’s Native Plants,” 10 a.m. to noon, South Coastal Library, 43 Kent Avenue, Bethany Beach.

Everyone knows the honeybee, but how many are aware of the hundreds of native bee species that live in Delaware? Bees pollinate the native plants of the state, as well as important crops — for free! They range in size from half a grain of rice to hefty carpenter bees. Most do not sting, and they are more common than most of the butterfly species and considered by some to be more beautiful.

Droege will show extreme close-up shots of these bees taken with new photography techniques, as well as talk about how to make a property bee-friendly. Droege has coordinated the North American Breeding Bird Survey Program and developed the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program, the Bioblitz, the Cricket Crawl and the FrogwatchUSA programs.

Currently, he is developing an inventory and monitoring program for native bees and online identification guides for North American bees at

The Delaware Botanic Gardens is a 10-year, multiphase 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 project has already attracted luminaries such as the Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf, the award-winning architecture firm Lake/Flato and Delaware’s own Rodney Robinson, a landscape architect who has created and restored gardens throughout the state.

Further information on the Delaware Botanic Gardens, including membership and donations, can be found at and at