a group of people standing outside of a wooden cabin

On March 17th, Delaware Botanic Gardens at Pepper Creek opened to the public for the 2022 season. There was a celebration and Bethany Beach – Fenwick Chamber of Commerce “ribbon cutting” celebration featured the opening of the new 800-square-foot rustic cedar restroom facility.


Surrounded by over 60 Sussex County garden supporters, Ray Sander, DBG President said, “Look to your left and right. You are people who have donated time, energy, and money to make DBG a reality. When you are a gardener, you believe in the future. When you plant or build it is an act of faith in the future. Your belief in DBG has empowered us to create this beautiful garden and now to have this stunning public restroom which will enhance our visitor’s experience.” Sander then saluted many leaders who were present.


Guest Speakers at the opening celebration included: Michael Vincent, President, Sussex County Council, who said, “DBG is a great attraction for Sussex County. You have done a great job with all the volunteers, and we thank them for their work. This is a great place to have an event where you can walk and enjoy the beauty of Sussex County.”


Russ McCabe and Ron Vickers represented the Sussex County Land Trust. McCabe said, “When you look at how far this garden has come, it is amazing. I am a historian, but my focus has become less and less on the past and more on the future. There is no better example on the focus on the future in Sussex County than these gardens. The beauty – and you are preserving our heritage and our future.”


Sander saluted Scott Edmonston, Erich Pfeffer and SEA Architects for their unique restroom building design, which was done pro-bono. Sander also saluted Mark Davidson, Vice President of Pennoni Engineering in Milton for all the construction engineering work, which was also done pro-bono.


Sheryl Swed, DBG Executive Director explained how a friendly conversation with Jen Edmonston, developed into the pro-bono donation of the architectural design by the Edmonstons and their award-winning team. Swed said, “DBG now has a stunning public restroom facility which has enhanced the beauty of the Garden.”


Scott Edmonston said,” Congratulations to the DBG team, this is a milestone in the long-term health and sustainability of the gardens. We are proud to be a part of that. We came to the gardens with a vision that was a little bit out of everyone’s comfort zone and DBG leadership said, sure let’s do it. It really takes a leader’s vision to trust your architect and that’s what happened here.”


Sander also saluted Wanderson Noriega and Daniel Kay of WN Builders who constructed the new restroom facility. Wanderson Noriega replied, “We thank everyone and appreciated the opportunity – it was amazing and we enjoyed working with everyone.”


The new restroom building has several “Green Technology” features including a 1,000-gallon stainless steel cistern and a “rain chain” that captures the rainwater from the restroom roof and then provides water for the rain garden’s plants, which in turn filter the rainwater. There is also a “living plant wall” at the entrance to the restrooms.


Supporting these “Green technology” features is the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC).
Ben Coverdale, of DNREC’s Division of Watershed Stewardship, spoke about the series of water quality grants provided to DBG, including Green Technology at the Restrooms, the Living Shoreline Project, the Rhyne Garden, and the proposed Gateway Garden projects. Coverdale said, “We are happy to see all of this come together.”


The Delaware Botanic Gardens are open to the public Thursdays through Sundays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. This 37-acre public garden has five feature gardens, including the meadow designed by world-famous plantsman Piet Oudolf. The gardens are located at 30220 Piney Neck Road, Dagsboro, DE 19939. Guided Tours are available at 10 a.m. Go to www.delawaregardens.org.


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.