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Garden Day

Mission & History


Wilmington Garden Day is an annual event that raises funds to be distributed to agencies offering programs that benefit underserved children in Delaware.


Wilmington Garden Day is a New Castle County tradition, celebrating its 71st year. The first tour, started by a small group of women, took place in 1947 following World War II and featured several beautiful flower gardens that had taken the place of the Victory Gardens needed during the War. WGD blossoms on the first Saturday in May to benefit agencies in Delaware with programs that serve children in need.

In 2008, as a preview to the Saturday tour, the Garden Day Committee created An Evening in the Garden. This elegant party takes place on the Thursday evening prior to Garden Day and is hosted at a spectacular country estate. Over 200 volunteers come together to showcase this legendary Wilmington community event.


Wilmington Garden Day, Inc. is a non-profit organization that raises funds to address needs of underserved children in Delaware. Currently, Wilmington Garden Day donates a portion of its annual proceeds to Friendship House, Inc. and St. Michael's School and Nursery.

Friendship House, Inc. was founded as a New Castle County nonprofit in 1987 when a handful of Wilmington churches saw a gap in winter overnight shelter for the homeless. Still focusing on filling gaps, Friendship House now operates 5 empowerment centers and ministries, the Clothing Bank of Delaware, New Castle County winter sanctuary including code purple, and 12 transitional houses for men, women and children. These ministries offer a stepping stone to a different, often better, way of life through hospitality, education, community and empowerment. We do not accept government funding and have chosen to be community supported by foundations, businesses, faith based organizations, community agencies, and individuals.

Funding from the Wilmington Garden Day supports our Women's housing program where women are reunited with their children after incarceration or time in a drug rehab center. While with us, mothers will work on personal development, financial responsibility, life and parent skills, employment training, and time management skills as they choose a different way of life with their children.

Funds from WGD are distributed to Patterson House which offers transitional housing to homeless women and children for 90-180 days and long-term transitional housing for those who have demonstrated a high commitment to programs such as employment training, financial responsibility and life skills training for the mothers as they resume visitation and custody of their children.

St. Michael's School and Nursery Founded in 1890, St. Michael's School and Nursery is Delaware's oldest early childhood program and one of the oldest in the nation. It was originally part of St. Michael's Episcopal Mission near Front and Adams Street on Wilmington's west side. We offered shelter with safety, comfort and life lessons to children whose working parents had limited choices. In its early days, St. Michael's also operated a hospital for babies and was the only place in the city where children of color could receive medical attention. We also offered shelter to homeless and abandoned children as well as facilitated adoptions. Full-day kindergarten was added to the school in 1908.

Today, St. Michael's is a 5-Star Level Delaware Stars early childhood center that serves an average of 130 children ages newborn through pre-school year-round. We continue to be fully dedicated to meeting the needs of the city of Wilmington, particularly families in the East Side community, by providing access to a high quality, affordable childcare and early education experience for young children of working parents. As we enter the next phase in the school's history, St. Michael's is committed to serving an increased number of the infant, toddler and pre-school populations. We believe we can make the greatest impact by preparing more children for success in school as well as helping their families transition through the school choice process. Funding from Wilmington Garden Day supports the school's scholarship assistance program so St. Michael's can remain true to its mission of welcoming all children.

Board of Directors

Executive Committee Members

At Large Members

Lisa Ford(General Chairman)

Mary Ball Morton(Vice Chairman)

Ashlinn Steele (Secretary)

Tom Scott (Treasurer)

Tracy Lea-Dorsey
Kim Eppehimer
Karen Hoepfinger
John Morton
Val Woodruff Noel
Gabrielle Reichert
Margot Williams
Joan Yulduzian

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