You Never Have to Garden Alone

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Many small pink flowers sit against leaves or greyish blue.
Dianthus Firewitch, a perennial plant with deep pink or magenta flowers that blooms in May or June.

You Never Have to Garden Alone

by Carrie Murphy, Extension Educator, Horticulture

Gardening has its ups and downs. But, I’m confident that novice and more experienced gardeners would agree that the rewards of gardening greatly outweigh the challenges presented to us throughout the growing season.

Lilium superbum: A species of true lily native to the eastern and central regions of North America, often known as swamp lily or American tiger lily.

Think about it — in just one growing season, any or all of the following can occur in your garden: Wet conditions, drought conditions, fluctuating temperatures. Does a ninety-degree day in April or a sixty-degree day in June sound familiar? How about fungal and bacterial diseases, insect damage, nutrient deficiencies? Do you have poor soil? Perhaps your plants don’t flower or they topple over. And the deer, rabbits, groundhogs, squirrel and neighborhood cats have put you ever the edge, making any plant challenging to grow. 

So why do we bother? Again, I think most gardeners would agree; there is no hobby like it! 

A star-shaped white flower with pink streaks inside.
Kalmia latifolia, commonly called mountain laurel, is an evergreen shrub in the heather family.

You may garden to grow fresh and flavorful vegetables or because nothing beats the feeling you get while waiting patiently for the first blooms of spring. Perhaps you garden for the fresh air or the way the soil feels between your fingers. You may like to sit on your back porch, with a refreshing glass of iced tea, and watch the hummingbirds visit the native perennials you just planted. Maybe gardening is your escape, transporting you to another place and time after a long, hard day at work. 

Regardless of the reason, you choose to continue “fighting the fight,” and your local Cooperative Extension office is here to help. You never have to garden alone! 


UD Cooperative Extension offices in each county offer a plethora of resources.


  • Call our garden helpline any time and leave a message with your question and, just a day or two, a Master Gardener will return your call with an answer! 

  • Take advantage of our plant and insect specimen “drop-off station” to leave plant and insect samples that need evaluation. We can help you identify plants in your landscape or if you suspect your plants are plagued by a pest (insect or disease), you can leave us a representative sample of the problem and we’ll help you to diagnose and treat the issue. 

  • Sign up for our home gardener workshops to learn about a new, exciting gardening topic such as pruning, native plants, vegetable gardening, composting or even specialty topics like rain gardens and seed starting!

  • Visit a Cooperative Extension office! Many of these spaces also offer unique demonstration gardens that feature native plants, small trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals and groundcovers, backyard composting, vegetable gardening, demonstrations of conventional and raised bed gardening examples, and more!
  • Check out a Master Gardener programEach County Master Gardener program has unique programs to offer. For example, New Castle County Master Gardeners offer an at-home landscape visitation program designed to provide on-site landscape and gardening advice. Meanwhile, in Sussex County, the Master Gardeners have developed a “New to Delaware” program for new residents tackling landscape challenges.


For more information on the University of Delaware’s Cooperative Extension Lawn and Garden Program, its services and programs visit us online or contact the offices listed below! 

New Castle  County

461 Wyoming Road
Newark, DE 19716
Phone: 302-831-2506

County Director: Maria Pippidis

For a listing of staff at the New Castle County location

click here

Kent County  

Paradee Center
69 Transportation Road
Dover, Delaware

County DirectorSusan Truehart Garey

For a listing of staff at the Kent County location

click here

Sussex County

Carvel Research & Education
16483 County Seat Highway
Georgetown, DE 19947
Phone: 302-856-7303

County Director: Cory Whaley

For a listing of staff at the Sussex County location

click here