2020 RPA Celebrated Plant Experts

Melinda Zoehrer and Rick Darke

 

 

Melinda Zoehrer

At UDBG, Melinda manages its membership and donor program, website development, special events, Herbaceous Garden and Lepidoptera Trail in the Native Garden, publication of its Annual Spring Plant Sale catalog (including writing and photography), and garden interpretation. She earned a B.S. in Environmental & Systematic Biology in California and a M.S. in Public Horticulture Management from the University of Delaware's Longwood Graduate Program. She has worked, served, and volunteered in public horticulture for over 35 years. Melinda holds certificates in Fundraising for Nonprofits from the University of Washington in Seattle, Museum Management from the Museum Studies Program from the University of Delaware, and Leadership Development from Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement. Prior to coming to UDBG, Melinda worked at the Delaware Center for Horticulture as its horticulturist for 14 years. Working with a super team of volunteers, she helped manage its Rare Plant Auction, City Country Garden Tour, and Dance for Plants, organize educational events, lead national and overseas trips to private and botanic gardens, and supervise grounds development and maintenance. She started her horticulture career working at the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden in Federal Way, Washington but began her horticulture interest in high school by growing an avocado plant from seed.

 

Rick Darke

Designer, author, and photographer Rick Darke’s work is grounded in an observational ethic that blends ecology, horticulture, and cultural geography in the design and care of living landscapes. A University of Delaware Distinguished Alumnus, Darke was Curator of Plants at Longwood Gardens before beginning independent practice in 1998. His international plant exploration work has taken him to Japan, South Africa, England, Germany, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, and the Canary Islands. Plant introductions he's been wholly or partly responsible for include Ilex crenata ‘Sky Pencil’, Aster tataricus ‘Jindai’, Sorghastrum nutans ‘Sioux Blue’, and Panicum amarum ‘Dewey Blue’. His design projects include parks, post-industrial sites, transportation corridors, corporate campuses, conservation developments, botanic gardens, and residential landscapes. Darke's Pennsylvania home garden, created with his wife and co-horticulturist Melinda Zoehrer, is dedicated to dynamic communities of locally-adapted plants and cultural relics. It has been profiled by The New York Times, National Public Radio, and Garden Design. Darke's books include The American Woodland Garden: Capturing the Spirit of the Deciduous Forest, The Living Landscape, co-authored with Doug Tallamy, and Gardens of the High Line, co-authored with Piet Oudolf. Darke's pro bono work has included roles as board president of The Delaware Center for Horticulture and as a board member of Pennsylvania's London Britain Township Land Trust. He has been a frequent guest instructor for the University of Delaware, the University of Pennsylvania, and New York University.

 

TheDCH is great. They helped us turn our school playground into a shady tree-lined one, with dedication, leadership, resources and instruction to keep our 44 trees...

— Dave Donohue
Mt Pleasant parent
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