A Secret Garden for All | Spring Family Portraits at Goodstay Gardens | Wilmington, Delaware
Updated: Jun 2
As a mother of four who lives in shoe (actually a cozy rancher on 1/8 acre), I am constantly seeking out new open spaces to unleash my boisterous crew-- so we can all revel in nature's beauty, and enjoy some fresh air and free play. Recently, we stumbled upon a hidden gem, Goodstay Gardens, and I'm thrilled to share this discovery with you as it is a well-kept secret known only to a fortunate few.
Situated on the grounds of the Greenhill Country Estate, which is now the Wilmington Campus of the University of Delaware, Goodstay Gardens holds a rich historical significance for the area. It was the childhood home of esteemed author and illustrator Howard Pyle (you can see his work on display at the DE Art Museum just up the road), as well as generations of the DuPont family. Maintained by dedicated volunteers, this garden offers an immersive glimpse into Wilmington's cultural heritage. Best of all, the gardens are completely free, and are open to the public year-round from dawn to dusk.
Visiting Goodstay Gardens feels like entering our own secret garden, where the bustle of the surrounding city of Wilmington fades into birdsong.
It's the perfect spot for an impromptu picnic of juice boxes, goldfish crackers, and smooshed and sun-warmed PB&J sandwiches. Or to read aloud a beloved storybook on a shady bench with your kiddo.
My family goes there to play spirited games of hide-and-seek. The garden is mostly enclosed-- so my little guys can't wander off too far. The nooks and crannies become secret hiding spots filled with the anticipation and excitement of being found. The trees echo back the gleeful shrieks of my boys, giving away their cover.
My older girls often immerse themselves in imaginative play while we are there. Before we head out, they will don princess dresses or pirate garb or their fairy wings so that they can act out their own made-up dramas along the gravel paths. Their characters come to life amidst the garden's enchanted surroundings and the lines between fiction and reality blur. Goodstay Gardens provides the perfect stage for their creativity.
In April, a breathtaking lane of pink Magnolias leads visitors from the parking lot to the garden's gate-- while inside, daffodils and tulips signal the arrival of spring. Then, in the month of May, another spectacle awaits as fragrant peonies and elegant irises burst into full bloom, unfurling delicately ruffled petals in hues of blush, coral, ivory, blue, and purple. Goodstay Gardens in Spring is idyllic-- the perfect place for kids to play-- a place to explore hidden corners and embark on exciting imaginative adventures amidst the vibrant floral displays.
Goodstay Gardens is not only for childhood whimsy. Its also an ideal location for capturing your family's connection and creating treasured memories during a family photo session. Spring family portraits come alive against the backdrop of blooming flowers. I hope you consider this location for your next family photo shoot.
Whether you are seeking an open space for your children to play, a peaceful picnic spot, or a scenic location for family photos, Goodstay Gardens is a wonderful place to visit.
Find it Here (and Enjoy!):
*As a kind reminder, this is a carry-in and carry-out garden. There are no restrooms on the premises and all dogs must be leashed.