Community Gardens


Leafcutter bee (genus Megachile) on Gaillardia flower. Photo Credit: David Clarke

Delaware Dept. of Agriculture Presents a First Look at the Pollinators at Duffy’s Hope Youth Garden in Wilmington

Duffy’s Hope, Inc. manages and owns a Youth Garden on Wilmington’s Eastside that provides fresh fruit, vegetables, herbs and cut flowers to youth and their families involved in Duffy’s Hope programs. In addition, people in the Eastside Community in the area of the Garden are engaged in many activities that contribute to the Garden success resulting in a strong Duffy’s Hope-Eastside Community relationship. Overall, the project encourages Duffy’s Hope youth and the surrounding Community to live healthier lives through the proactive benefits of gardening.

The Delaware Department of Agriculture is interested in identifying sites throughout Delaware that provide habitats with a diversity of sustainable forage pollinators to thrive.  Thalia Pappas and David Clarke visited the Duffy’s Hope Youth Garden to document what pollinators were attracted to the numerous species of flowers and vegetables grown in the garden.  From a first look, David was able to photograph and identify 4 species of native bees present in the flowers during the visit.  He has also provided background on the biology of the species he photographed.

Our hope is that this initial look at pollinators visiting the garden serves as an inspiration to show that it is possible to attract and create an environment for a diversity of pollinating insects in an urban setting by establishing a garden of flowering plants, vegetables and herbs.  These pollinators, in turn, will provide essential pollination services for the plants so that they can set fruit and seed for human and wildlife consumption.

For more information on DDA’s Pollinator Protection Plan visit:

To read more about the pollinators at Duffy’s Hope, click here.

Bumblebee on Gaillardia flower Photo Credit: David Clarke

Why a Community Garden?

Community gardens provide significant economic and community development possibilities such as an oasis for families to learn from each other as well as from nature.  Fresh air, exercise, and camaraderie.  No yard, or a yard that is shaded or too small.  Youth and adults teach or learn from each other.  Raise vegetables, herbs, and flowers, instead of buying them.  Create a shaded oasis for families.  Attract pollinators like bees and butterflies.  Filter stormwater runoff.  Bring neighbors together.  Increase property values.


Where to Begin?

 Start with people, not plants.  Recruit active, interested, responsible gardeners.  Create an informal organization for communication, dues, etc.  Who will your garden serve (church community, specific neighborhood, youth center, the Food Bank)?  What will your garden grow (vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers)?

The Garden Site

 Who owns it? Is permission needed from an outside party to use it?  How is it currently being used? How was it used historically (factory, house, church yard)?  For vegetables, does the site receive 6-8 hours or more sun per day?  The site must have water, and fencing to keep out critters and other unwanted visitors is often desirable.

A Few Words about Soil Quality:  Gardening in an urban setting is different than gardening in the suburbs. Urban garden sites may contain lead and other chemicals; here vegetables and fruits should be grown in “raised beds” (i.e., wood structures filled with fresh soil) which prevent edible plants from taking up soil contaminants. In the end, these sites may be better locations to grow ornamental flowers and trees.


Many local and national organizations can help with:

  • site assessment and utilization
  • material lists and sources
  • funding opportunities
  • community and garden organization
  • planting: what, when, how, how much
  • maintenance and pest management
  • communication tools
  • nutrition education and cooking tips

For more information contact:

~ Carrie Murphy, Extension Educator, Horticulture, New Castle County (302) 831-COOP,

~ Tracy Wootten, Extension Educator, Horticulture, Sussex County (302) 856-2585,

Additional resource: The Delaware Center for Horticulture

(Adapted from The Delaware Center for Horticulture’s Grow a Community Garden….Grow a Community!, March 2012)