TheDCH Grows Greener

While promoting gardening and conservation, the nonprofit celebrates renovations, new projects and, on Sept. 24, Taste of Trolley

The Delaware Center for Horticulture, the nonprofit tucked behind Trolley Square in an idyllic plant heaven that promotes gardening and conservation, has recently undergone huge renovations and is prepping for a busy autumn. This includes involvement with Taste of Trolley Square on Saturday, Sept. 24, a garden party and green roof initiatives.

The fun kicks off with Backyard Berries Plant Sale at the Taste of Trolley from 1-5 p.m.
Pawpaw, a fruity relative of the papaya, will rule the day. There will be pawpaw-infused craft beer from Bellefonte Brewing Co. and homemade pawpaw ice cream from the UDairy Creamery. Pawpaw trees and other fruit plants, including blueberry bushes, grape vines, and hop vines, also will be available. And anyone who signs up for TheDCH membership will go home with a complimentary perennial.

Says Vikram Krishnamurthy, TheDCH executive director: “We are a resource in the community and throughout the region to not only learn about the power of plants but also how to integrate environmentally-friendly steps in improving the world for all of us.”

Additionally, slated for completion mid-to-late September, is the Infinity Green Roof on TheDCH’s building. Overlooking Brandywine Park and Conaty Park, it will feature a combination of containers, rooftop plantings and outdoor seating.

Speaking of Conaty Park, another initiative is the “Rain Gardens and Conaty Park” project, to be finished this fall. A series of rain gardens adjacent to Conaty Park will demonstrate efficiency in improving water quality and sustaining pollinators. The rain gardens were created thanks to grants from New Castle Conservation District, the Starrett Foundation and in partnership with the City of Wilmington. They will also will be a teaching opportunity, according to Krishnamurthy.

“The rain gardens will be an educational tool for the public and our members to see the efficacy of a rain garden and how its elements can be adapted for their home gardens and property.”

In general, the renovated center will utilize, showcase and demonstrate energy efficiency, storm water mitigation practices, and state-of-the-art green technology. This includes a new atrium roofing system to reduce heat loss, separation of the building’s sanitary and storm water systems to eliminate any potential combined storm water overflow problems, a water cistern to collect rain water, and a solar array to offset energy costs.

And finally, there is the Front Green Roof, which should be completed next spring. An extensive green roof on the new wing of TheDCH building, it will slow storm water runoff, conserve rain and lower building temperatures, among other benefits.

“One of the primary goals of the building’s renovation was to better integrate the idea of biophilia—connecting the natural world with inside space to improve a person’s wellbeing and health —into the design,” says Krishnamurthy.

Guests are invited to celebrate these changes at the free Discover TheDCH Open House & Garden Party on Tuesday, Sept. 27, from 5:30-7 p.m. Tour the grounds and building while enjoying refreshments and wine tastings from Moore Brothers.

“My vision is that, through the work of TheDCH, horticulture addresses the current and future challenges of our planet and our neighborhoods at the same time,” Krishnamurthy says. “We will have achieved our mission when all Delawareans view horticulture as a necessary and integral part of their daily lives.”