We got our hands dirty last week with the Delaware Center for Horticulture in the heart of Trolley Square, Wilmington, Delaware. Behind the elusive brick wall is a beautiful display of greenery and calming spaces to have those quiet moments we so desperately need sometimes! After visiting, I felt guilty that I’ve driven by a number of times over the 6 years I’ve lived in Wilmington and never stopped in.
Since 1977, the Delaware Center for Horticulture has lived by the motto, “the power of plants”, with their mission aimed at creating a greener community by bringing people and plants together. According to executive director, Vikram Krishnamurthy, “The key program areas where we focus our work on both greening and education. So our city greening programs are really about working with people in neighborhoods with neighborhood activists looking to make a difference.”
The DCH offers adult, youth, and employment training. “Education is a huge part of what we do, like our Branches to Chances program,” says Krishnamurthy. “This is for unemployed, underemployed, and returning citizens that are looking to take the next step and we do job training and placement in the horticulture industry for these individuals.”
For the big kid that wants to earn their green thumb, the DCH relies heavily on its volunteers for their greening projects around the city. Although they haven’t been engaging volunteers as much as they used to due to COVID, keep your eyes open for opportunities to pitch in. They also host events, like their Virtual Herbal Basics Workshop (11/21), and Virtual Holiday Wreath Making (12/2 & 12/3). What I love about the virtual part is you can pick up your kit of “materials” for the workshop the morning of from the DCH! I’m planning on making a girl’s night from their wreath making event! You can find more info about these events and others here.
The Power of Plants
“There are a lot of social benefits in the “power of plants”. We know especially this year we’ve gotten so much more interest from people who are really appreciating and looking for opportunities for ways to reduce stress, support people’s mental health, and the community.”
According to Krishnamurthy, “We have a 25-year history of working with the City of Wilmington, particularly through the real estate and housing department. [One of our biggest initiatives is] the Community Development Block Grant. What we do is pair street tree planting with priorities of the city. So for example, we planted 134 trees through the program all over the city. There’s a lot of benefits, not only reducing heat from the shade and storm water runoff, but greening increases property values and economic development. This beautification can also help the perception of places in the city. We really involve the neighborhoods and communities in these decisions.”
I got to go offsite after my tour to one of the DCH’s community projects at Brandywine Mills Plaza. The Old Brandywine Village Revitalization Group was looking to improve and enhance this area and requested the help of the DCH. The DCH in turn assisted in securing funding for the project, gave expertise in terms of planning, and redesigned the space to achieve the goals the OBVRG had.
Get Your Green Thumb!
I had so much fun playing in the dirt with the Delaware Center for Horticulture and the Old Brandywine Village Revitalization Group. For more information on how to get involved visit the DCH’s website, Instagram, and Facebook. Find the OBVRG’s website, Instagram and Facebook for opportunities to volunteer, and as always follow my journey through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube! We will see you at the next location!