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My book Shore Fun! The Delmarva Wanderer’s Guide is a two-part affair. First is a guide to more than 150 fun annual events, broken out by season of the year. Second is destinations—more than 125 of them, broken out into five regions. Below, in a free excerpt, is one such destination. And here is where you can find the book.

Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek

If you have not heard of Piet Oudolf, join the club. I was in that position before visiting the newish Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek. This 37-acre tract located on the backroads outside of Dagsboro, Del. opened in 2019 after a decade’s worth of planting and preparation. Much of that work happened under the guidance of Oudolf, a Dutchman whose name is instantly recognizable to landscape design nerds.

Consider this from Gardenista, a website regarded by some as the bible of gardening: “If the world of gardening has rock stars, Piet Oudolf qualifies as Mick Jagger, David Bowie, and Prince rolled into one.” Oudolf’s work falls into a genre known as “New Perennial,” in which pretty flowers stand not on their own, but amid swatches of tall, swaying grasses that serve as a natural version of the sort of dreamily romantic background you might find in Impressionist paintings. The trick here has been compared to setting a mood, “like candlelight at a dinner party.”

The five gardens at Pepper Creek are mere toddlers as of this writing. They will continue to grow and evolve through the 2020s, after which the landscape is expected to achieve a fuller measure of the maturity envisioned by its famed designer. The folks who hired Oudolf to work here are not at all shy about saying the goal here is a “world-class” facility. One last bit of advice: No matter how entranced you get by the flowers, don’t skip out on the forest paths and their waterfront views.

Another Dagsboro tip: Wander the grounds of nearby Prince George’s Chapel—it dates to the 1750s.

As of early 2024 when I’m posting this, the Delaware Botanic Gardens usually opens for the warm-weather months  in mid-March. Hours are Thursdays through Sundays.

Delaware Botanic Gardens website:
Tourism info for the surrounding area at Southern Delaware Tourism.

Here is where to find info on my books, including Shore Fun! Remember, there are 150-plus events and 125-plus destinations in there, a veritable lifetime of fun little excursions.

–posted by Jim Duffy for Whimbrel Creations LLC/Secrets of the Eastern Shore in March 2024. All rights reserved. Thank you for spending a little time with this story and on this site!

BONUS NOTE: I did not mention in the book that the bathrooms at Delaware Botanic Gardens were among 10 finalists in 2022 for the “America’s Best Restroom” contest which honors architecture and design innovations, so be sure to take a pit stop!

The photos up top come from the website of the Botanic Gardens. Here is one more, an aerial view:

Delaware Botanic Gardens Aerial View

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