Longwood Graduate Program Longwood Gardens University of Delaware, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Plant and Soil Sciences Department
Longwood Graduate Program Fellows Tracy Qiu, Project Leader Elizabeth Barton Alice Edgerton Erin Kinley Grace Parker
Executive Summary The Longwood Graduate Program is a two-year curriculum culminating in a Master’s degree in Public Horticulture. In addition to traditional academic pursuits, the Longwood Graduate Fellows engage in several experiential projects, including an annual Professional Outreach Project. In fulfillment of the 2016 Professional Outreach Project, the Longwood Graduate Fellows partnered with the Delaware Center for Horticulture (TheDCH), a Wilmington based horticultural organization. The Fellows worked in partnership with the Delaware Center for Horticulture staff and an advisory committee to complete a garden site vision plan, making recommendations towards the future of TheDCH’s garden site. Not only will this document serve as a guide to define the identity of the Delaware Center for Horticulture’s garden site, but could also serve as a reference tool for TheDCH as they move into their strategic planning phase. The Delaware Center for Horticulture (TheDCH) is situated in downtown Wilmington, Delaware, and has a focus on urban horticulture, community greening, and horticultural job training. TheDCH garden site is 1.3 acres of urban garden connected to the back of TheDCH facility, bordering Conaty Park, with a connection to Brandywine Park. The Fellows assessed TheDCH’s garden site in in four different phases: document review, internal stakeholder analysis, external benchmarking and analysis, and community workshop. With each program area, the Fellows asked the following questions about TheDCH’s garden site: 1. What is it? What has it been? 2. What can it become? What should it not try to be? 3. How will it be supported through programming and earned revenue? 4. How can it support TheDCH’s mission, vision, and values?
Based on research and observations from the document review, internal analysis, benchmarking analysis, and community workshop, the Fellows suggest the following key strategic recommendations for TheDCH garden site. 1. Adopt a purpose statement for the garden site. The purpose statement should support the mission of TheDCH while simultaneously establishing a firm identity and purpose for the garden site. The Fellows recommend a variation of the following purpose statement: TheDCH garden site demonstrates effective and aesthetic urban horticulture while serving as an asset for events and programming within TheDCH and the local community. This statement highlights what makes the garden site unique: it serves as an example of horticulture in an urban setting. The statement also makes it clear that the site can complement activities, events, and rentals that support either TheDCH's programming, or the local community. Due to the small size of the garden, we consider it an asset to TheDCH's facilities instead of a standalone site for events and programming. 2. Develop a formalized collaboration between city, state, and local businesses and organizations for long-term planning and shared resources. TheDCH should capitalize on recent renovations in order to create a connection between TheDCH garden site, Conaty Park, and Brandywine Park. A strong connection could expand opportunities for events and programming, increasing the potential beyond the 1.3 acres of garden site. This expanded space could allow TheDCH to engage with a larger and more diverse audience. To achieve this, TheDCH should identify partners and create a memorandum of understanding (MOU) or formalized agreement.
3. Elevate horticultural standards through resource management, garden design, and maintenance. Many stakeholders expressed the importance of a beautiful site to represent TheDCH within the community. Plantings should be attractive, demonstrate multiseason value, and be attainable for the urban homeowner. The Fellows recommend a horticultural aesthetic focused on accessible urban plantings, judicious use of space, and vignettes throughout the garden. These overall recommendations carry operational implications for a small organization. Within the plan, we outline Programming, Marketing and Revenue, and Operational Considerations to support the garden site vision.
Acknowledgements The Longwood Graduate Program would like to thank the following individuals and institutions for their professional assistance in the completion of the 2016 Professional Outreach Project at the Delaware Center for Horticulture (TheDCH). •
Marnie Conley, POP 2016 Staff Lead, Director of Marketing and Co-Lead of Longwood Graduate Program, Longwood Gardens
Hank Davis, Board Member, TheDCH
Vikram Krishnamurthy, Executive Director, TheDCH
Ann Mattingly, Director of Programs and POP 2016 Liaison, TheDCH
Brian Trader, Ph. D., DIS Coordinator & Interim Director of Longwood Graduate Program, Longwood Gardens
Ann Wick, Board President, TheDCH
Anna Wik, RLA, Assistant Professor of Landscape Design, University of Delaware
Sarah Willoughby, CTP, CTIS, Executive Director, Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau
Lenny Wilson, Director of Development, TheDCH
In addition to the individuals above, the Longwood Fellows would like to extend their thanks to the staff, board members, and volunteers at The Delaware Center for Horticulture. The warmth and sincerity expressed by the staff and participants brought this project to life in meaningful and unexpected ways. The Longwood Graduate Program Fellows would also like to express their gratitude for the continuous support from both Longwood Gardens and the University of Delaware. It is through this unparalleled generosity that the Fellows are able to learn, grow, and shape the future of public horticulture.