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  • Writer's pictureAlexandra Duprey

A Secret Garden for All | Spring Family Portraits at Goodstay Gardens | Wilmington, Delaware

Updated: Feb 13

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.

a little boy runs and plays in the iris garden at goodstay gardens in Wilmington delaware

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.

A mother spins her son in a circle playfully in the rose garden at Goodstay gardens in wilmington, Delaware during family photos.

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.

a mother holds her son over her head while playing at a family photo shoot at goodstay gardens in wilminton, delaware.

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.

A father holds his son in the rose garden at goodstay gardens in wilmington, delaware.

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.

a mother holds and kisses her son in the peony garden at goodstay garden in wilminton, delaware

a mother kisses her son in the peony garden at goodstay gardens in wilmington, delaware during family photos in the spring

a young boy points out a flower on his mother's full sleeve tattoo

a boy and his mother play in wilminton delaware

a couple kisses during a family photo shoot in goodstay gardens in wilminton, delaware

a mother and son play at goodstay gardens in wilminton, delaware

Hey, I was mentioned as a local Wilmington, DE

expert on the Redfin blog! Check out the article

I was featured in: 8 Things to Do in

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