Delaware Botanic Gardens announces our opening date and our new Head of Horticulture

a man standing in a field full of flowers

The Delaware Botanic Gardens Board, staff, and volunteers are pleased to invite our members and the public to the 2021 Season starting Thursday, March 18 at 9:00 a.m. Ray Sander, President of the Delaware Botanic Gardens (DBG), noted that “While the gardens have been closed during the Winter, progress has continued at DBG with the further development of exciting garden features, the completion of the Woodlands Garden circumferential pathway, and the finishing touches on the joint Center for the Inland Bays-DBG Living Shoreline project, including a new observation platform overlooking Pepper Creek. In addition, we invite our guests to meet DBG’s newest staff member, Stephen Pryce Lea, our new Head of Horticulture.”

Carol McCloud, DBG Vice President and Director of Volunteers, said “We conducted a nationwide search and were very fortunate to attract Stephen from his previous post as Director of Garden Operations at the Philadelphia Zoological Gardens, Philadelphia, PA. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture from Lancaster University, Lancaster, Lancashire, England.” McCloud added that “Stephen is a perfect match for our growing gardens and our volunteers, who all have a thirst for knowledge about native plants and best garden practices.”

Sheryl Swed, DBG Executive Director, said, “Stephen has an amazing love of plants and teaching. He has 30 years of experience in all facets of public and private garden operations and is a devoted garden educator and champion of life-long learning.”

Swed also noted “Like last year, our goal is to make the gardens a safe and healthy place to enjoy the beauty of nature. We will be following CDC and state COVID-19 guidelines, and all staff, members, and guests will be required to wear face masks and practice social distancing and hand washing. Reservations will be required to ensure our guests can enjoy their time at the gardens without confronting crowding.”

The Gardens are open Thursday through Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., beginning March 18. Admission is free for Delaware Botanic Garden members and for anyone under the age of 16. For those who are not members, the cost is $12 per person. Also, guided tours are available on Thursdays and Saturdays at 10:00 a.m. and cost $10. Admission and tour reservations are required and can be made online at

The Delaware Botanic Gardens is located at 30220 Piney Neck Road, Dagsboro, DE. Memberships are available by going to

The mission of the Delaware Botanic Gardens is to create a world-class, inspirational, educational, and sustainable public botanic garden in southern Delaware for the benefit and enjoyment of all. For more information, go to