The University of Delaware Botanic Gardens traces its roots back to the late 1950’s with the planting of specimen trees and shrubs around Townsend Hall at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR). These early plantings initially supported undergraduate coursework and evolved over time into gardens that serve the UD community and broader public. With a donation from Emily Clark Diffenback, the garden in front of Townsend Hall was formally established in 1973 and became known as The Clark Garden.
The Clark Garden was only the beginning. As plantings increased around the agricultural buildings, a Magnolia Society test garden was established south of Townsend Hall. With the addition of the Herbaceous Garden, the name ‘University of Delaware Botanic Gardens was adopted in 1992, and in 2006, the Dean of CANR officially recognized the UD Botanic Gardens and appointed its first Director, Dr. John Frett, and hired its first staff, Assistant Director Melinda Zoehrer and Volunteer and Education Coordinator Valann Budischak. The gardens also has one other part-time staff who takes care of the greenhouse operations, Claudia Bradley. The gardens also has an Advisory Committee.
Today, the UD Botanic Garden is a series of twelve gardens on fifteen acres. UDBG continues to be used by faculty, students, Green Industry professionals, and the public, and serves a primary role in supporting the CANR programs in horticulture, plant science, entomology, and landscape design.