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New Stories from 2020

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Story Archives 2019

Story Archives 2018 and earlier

Garden Market 2023

A heartfelt thank you to the entire LIB membership for the most successful Garden Market to date.  You answered the call for perennials and gently used garden accessories, decorative items and tools – we had the best Stuff!

Customers eagerly scooped up their found treasures along with perennials and annuals and carting them away.

Judy Melson, won the beautiful Mosaic Bird House made by Sue Sandmeyer.  Tricia Muir (and sister) won the netvue Bird Feeder; they plan to give to their mother – who LOVES birds.  Both of the raffles brought in a significant amount of money for the fundraiser.

This was a big effort by members who volunteered their time to this event.  Customers and volunteers both commented on the enjoyment they had participating in the sale.  One member wrote me to say  ‘We got a text from a friend who attended (the sale) who was extremely complimentary of the event and said he was so happy to live in Lewes‘.

I feel the same way – I’m happy to be part of this community who gives so much of themselves for the benefit of many.  It takes a LIB village to have a LIB Garden Plant & Flea Market sale!!

Thank you.

Carol Dunnington

Garden Market Committee Chair

Judy Melson won the Mosaic Bird House made by Sue Sandmeyer

Tricia Muir (l) and sister won the netvue Bird Feeder




New Mosaic Works of Art Installed in Two Lewes City Parks (May 31, 2023)

Four new mosaic works of art have recently been added to Lewes parks. Each mosaic panel is of a butterfly commonly seen in Delaware, and was designed individually by local artists Susan Allen, Terry Lake, Linda Rancourt, and Sue Sandmeyer. Lewes in Bloom funded the materials, framing, and installation. The art has been donated to the City of Lewes and will be on display for at least two years.

This artistic collaboration was aimed at adding life, color and height to existing Lewes in Bloom gardens to remind viewers that these charismatic insects rely on the food and shelter provided by these spaces. Gardens are a place to rest and meditate for humans. They also provide the vital function of feeding and protecting keystone insects such as butterflies and other pollinators. Placing mosaics in the selected locations provides a recurring theme, as well as connects these gardens for visitors in a way that currently does not exist. Lewes in Bloom maintains 2 large pollinator gardens with hundreds of plants in Lewes: Canalfront Park and George HP Smith Park.

Two of the artworks, Allen’s “Monarch on Butterfly Bush” and Lake’s “Eastern Tiger Swallowtail” are in the Canalfront Park pollinator garden. Rancourt’s “Painted Lady” and Sandmeyer’s “Monarch” are in the George HP Smith pollinator garden. Both gardens are among the nearly 30 gardens designed and maintained by Lewes in Bloom.

Susan Allen is a largely self-taught mosaic artist who has been creating mosaics for several years. She has experience with many different mosaic techniques including glass-on-glass mosaics, slate mosaics, mixed media mosaics, mosaic realism and abstracts. She has taught mosaic classes at the Rehoboth Art League and Mispillion Art League and is a current member of the Mosaic Society of Philadelphia.

Terry Lake has taught mosaic classes at the Rehoboth Art League and the Salvation Army’s Creative HeART’s Program. She created a stepping stone for the Lewes in Bloom garden in Cervia, Italy. She also took part in the Lewes Drawbridge mosaic mural.

Linda Rancourt was instrumental in the Lewes Drawbridge Mosaic Mural, creating stained glass fish, dolphins, and other marine creatures. She created a stepping stone for LIB’s Cervia, Italy exhibit and helped create the stained glass fish that “swam” in the Italian garden. Her Smalti Patch House mosaic is displayed at The Ruins Project, a collaborative mosaic art installation in the Great Allegheny Passage, in a former coal mine.

Sue Sandmeyer, co-chair of Art in Bloom, was project director of the Lewes Drawbridge Mosaic Mural. She also project-managed the stepping stone art and stained glass fish creations for the Cervia, Italy garden exhibit, and created a stepping stone. Her Smalti Patch House mosaic is also displayed at the Ruins Project.

Lewes won the international Communities in Bloom contest in 2018. As a result of this award, Lewes in Bloom was invited as “garden architects” to design and plant a garden in Cervia, Italy as part of the Cervia Città Giardino open air Floral Art Festival in May 2019. The stepping stone portion of the garden showcased Delaware icons, such as the Horseshoe Crab and tulips.

For more information, contact Sue Sandmeyer


Sue Sandmeyer  “Monarch”

Linda Rancourt “Painted Lady”

Terry Lake, “Eastern Tiger Swallowtail”

Susan Allen   “Monarch on Butterfly Bush”


May Day Celebration 2023

Many businesses and residences in Lewes observed May Day this year by hanging or displaying flowers on their doors or porches.  Lewes in Bloom judges went to the locations that registered on our website.  

Most Original Overall ~ Edie Bees

First Place ~ Business ~ Lewes Cycle

Second Place ~ Business ~ Fairy Godmother

Honorable Mentions Business

  • Lewes Oyster House
  • Touch of Italy
  • Biblion
  • Lewes Public  Library
  • Ray’s Produce
  • Bramble & Brine

First Place ~ Residential ~ Harry & Debbie Sheing

Second Place ~ Residential ~ Jakub Konysz

Honorable Mentions Residential

  • Sue Crawford

Darlene Regan


The 2023 May Day celebration was a success thanks to Event Chair, Bonnie Mahr and her hardworking team.  Participation tripled over 2022 as judging was expanded outside the Lewes Historic District. It is not easy judging 40+ entries in one day. Bonnie thanks the many LIB volunteers who helped her make it all work – Rosemary Ewing for handling the photography and posting press releases and May Day information on Facebook.  Patti Walters for designing the beautiful May basket placed on the City Hall door to publicize the event.  The teams of judges who gave their time scoring both the business and residential fresh-cut flowers entered in the celebration were Meg Walsh and Carolyn Vane, Maureen Ciano and Denise Beirne, Pam Meador and Linda Rancourt, Terry Yates and Sue Carroll.  Co-Chair John Roecker and LIB member Barbara Roecker awarded prize ribbons to the winners.  Prior to the May Day celebration, Meg Walsh, Pam Meador, Carolyn Vane, Terry Yates and Amy Darlington distributed flyers.  Pam Rankin used her many floral design talents, demonstrating how to make a May basket on camera, being interviewed by Mallory Metzner of WRDE TV.  WBOC TV also covered the event on May 1st.  Jason Lee, host of Outdoors Delmarva, followed our judges to film many of the May Day entries.  Pam Meador and Bonnie Mahr were interviewed as well. Additional coverage of this event will be televised by WBOC in one of their Outdoors Delmarva segments in July.


May Day Celebration 2022

Lewes in Bloom’s Second Annual May Day Celebration had some unique additions this year.  The Broadkill Jammers provided soft music on May 1st in the gazebo at Mary Vessels Park. It was a beautiful spring day to view the May baskets around Lewes.

The displays included May baskets with blue and yellow ribbons showing support for Ukraine, and even an entry featuring a May pole!  Prior to hanging a basket on the Lewes Library door, Teen Services Librarian Emily Ellinger hosted a class about May Day.  The teens learned the history of May Day and then made their own May baskets from recycled books and flowers.

The Most Original Award was presented to residents Alexis Schneider & Andrew Parsell, who cleverly turned the lantern pole in their front yard into a festive colorful, be-ribboned May pole! The couple each had a hand in their winning May display—Alexis constructed the May Pole, and Andrew, who loves working with flowers designed the May basket on their door, choosing roses, Gerber daisies and lilies.  They were first time May Day participants and would like to see it expand with a larger community May Pole!  Alexis and Andrew enjoy living in a town with a reputation for beautiful flowers and say their out of town visitors are amazed at the beauty.











In the Business category, First Prize Winner was the Active Adults Realty, which featured a floral display of a basket perched on their steps which highlighted ranunculus, a be-ribboned flowing vine from the doorknob, and orchids in teacups sitting in their courtyard.  Realtor Donna Beck, who designed the display says her favorite place is any greenhouse and that her car automatically stops at all garden centers.  She states gardeners are artists who love to create masterpieces in the dirt instead of on canvas.  As a huge fan of Lewes in Bloom, she plans to join the group ”who keeps Lewes so charming”.

The Business Second Prize Winner went to the Cape Artists Gallery whose entry clearly stated who they are.  A lovely bouquet of fresh spring flowers sprang to life in front of a colorful artist’s pallet—with the flower stems extending onto paint brushes.  According to Kathy Casey, co-op member, the artists’ co-op is over 15 years old, with 20 local artists meeting and painting together.  The artwork is then sold in their 15-year old location in downtown Lewes.







Two Honorable Mention Awards in the business category went to Coldwell Banker  Premier Realty and the Lewes Library. The rose, be-decked baskets the realtors chose on each of their doors, were a small basket and a matching large basket, demonstrating how they can find clients a property of any size.

Lewes Library’s Teen Services Librarian Emily Ellinger created a basket of purple roses, eucalyptus, daisies and baby’s breath for the library door.  Emily said that she hopes to continue to participate in Lewes in Bloom’s event to remember this lovely, spring tradition.

The First Place Resident Award went to Gene Chudzik, who had his daughter register him for the judging.  He enjoys working with flowers and put together a simple basket with sunflowers, mums and carnations, adding blue and yellow ribbons signifying his support for Ukraine.  The basket was complemented by the blue door of his home, which he and his wife moved into full-time a year ago, after using it as a vacation home for many years.  Gene said the blue ribbon prize will be a nice surprise for his wife who is returning home after a stay in a nursing home.

Marilyn Vai, LIB co-chair presenting the Blue Ribbon

Pam Rankin won a Second Place Resident Award.  She says that one of her favorite pastimes is floral design and gardening, which is evidenced in that she was also a winner last year in the May Day judging.  The floral display on her porch was in 3 parts highlighting orange tulips—a traditional basket on her door with ribbon streamers, an unusual use of three differing flowers flowing over on a low, bright-colored table, and a watering can in mid-air “still life”, featuring vines flowing from the spout.

Pam Rankin and Marilyn Vai

Flowers and greenery that were all from Patty and Chris Carulli’s yard resulted in the couple [who already had a basket] fashioning their May basket without cost, except for the wide ban of blue and yellow ribbon circling the basket, showing support for Ukraine. This Honorable Mention Resident Award featured maple leaves, tulips and wisteria and formed a robust bouquet in the basket, and the plants and ribbons were repeated on their doorknob.

Another Honorable Mention Resident Award went to Beebe Frazer for two displays on her porch near her old-fashioned swing.  Calibrachoa flowers were flowing from a large, wicker, traditionally-shaped cone May Day basket which was suspended from the porch ceiling. She also had deep purple blooms standing up in a unique glass, flat-backed vase attached to her porch wall.  Beebe thinks May Day is a good idea and that more Lewes residents should join in.  She enjoys displaying flowers as a re-birth of life in the spring.

Delaware General Assembly Passes Invasive Plant Ban - February 2021

Anyone who has done battle with Japanese honeysuckle, porcelain berry, or oriental bittersweet will welcome a new piece of legislation that has passed both the Delaware House and Senate. It prohibits the “import, export, sale, transport, distribution, or propagation” of a number of plants considered invasive by the state Department of Agriculture.  In addition, the act requires that plants identified as potentially invasive be sold with a tag that identifies the plant. (To see the entire bill, )

Once this legislation is signed by Governor Carney, the law becomes effective July 1, 2022. The plants included on the list banned by the law is included below.

Looking for ideas for replacements? Native plants are a good choice for a number of reasons. They support beneficial insects and native pollinators; and they are usually well adapted to our area’s environment, being hardier and requiring less maintenance. For some ideas, check out Mt. Cuba’s database as well as the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays

Invasive Plant Species in Delaware

(1) Multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora)

(2) Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)

(3) Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)

(4) Japanese stilt grass (Microstegium vimineum)

(5) Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica)

(6) Autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)

(7) Norway maple (Acer platanoides)

(8) European reed (Phragmites australis subsp.  australis)

(9) Hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata)

(10) Morrow’s honeysuckle (Lonicera morrowii)

(11) Mile-a-minute weed (Persicaria perfoliata)

(12) Yam-leaved Clematis (Clematis terniflora)

(13) European Privet (Ligustrum vulgare)

(14) European Sweetflag (Acorus calamus)

(15) Wineberry (Rubus phoenicolasius)

(16) Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii)

(17) Lesser periwinkle (Vinca minor)

(18) Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata)

(19) Winged euonymus (Euonymus alatus)

New Bloomers helping clean up the garden at the Lewes Firehouse

YOU DID IT !!!!!

We exceeded our goal.  Thank you to all of our supporters.  We couldn’t have done it without you!

On Friday, September 4th, members of Lewes in Bloom along with Mayor Ted Becker celebrated reaching our Bucks For Blooms Fundraiser goal by painting the final level of our giant tulip on 2nd Street.  We are so grateful to all our friends and neighbors who gave so generously.  We could not have done it without all of your support!

Lewes in Bloom is truly grateful that we will be able to continue our mission to promote the beautification and maintenance of Historic Lewes and the community at large.  Diane McGreal, fundraising chair, filled in the final level of the tulip stem.  Dianne Stevens, LIB co-chair, was interviewed for WRDE TV as well as the Cape Gazette about our accomplishments and plans going forward.

The Bucks for Blooms campaign was originally schedule to go thru the end of September.  As a result of your generous support, we reached our goal before the end of August.

The ability to contribute is always available.  You can mail contributions to Lewes in Bloom, P.O. Box 308, Lewes, DE 19958 or click HERE to go to our on-line DONATION PAGE.


Left to right – Warren Golde, Marilyn Vai, Kathleen Merlo, Jane Charters, Cindy DeEmedio, Diane McGreal, Ellen McCathren, Betty Burleigh, Kent Baschwitz, Dianne Stevens, Mayor Ted Becker, Bonnie Mahr, Sue Crawford, Pat Fischer, Terry Yates and Gail Bashwitz

Here are pictures of a few of the LIB maintained garden taken 7-9-2020

Lewes in Bloom Brightens up Second Street!

If 2nd street has been looking brighter this summer it might be due to the new planters that line the street. From Reeves Holt House to Touch of Italy, Lewes in Bloom has been busy planting over 200 flowers in 32 new pots.

This project was a joint effort between the town and Lewes in Bloom. It began with the town removing the old plants in the bump outs. This required careful digging so as not to disturb any electrical wiring in the ground. Then pea gravel was used to help make the bump outs more attractive as well as keep the weeds down. With no irrigation along Second Street investing in self-watering planters like those used at St. Peters would be the only solution. A “self-watering” container doesn’t actually water itself. It is a watering system using planters that contain a reservoir of water at the bottom. This reservoir connects to the soil via a fabric “wick”. In a wick system, water is drawn up the wick via capillary action into the soil. This system would only require filling the reservoir as needed. This is done by a dedicated person hired by the town.

At last on June 10, the Lewes in Bloom 2nd Street Patrons planted the flowers. Many of which were grown by our volunteers at the Lewes in Bloom warehouse. We covered and uncovered the young plants depending on the early spring weather, we fertilized, watered and nursed them along for several months till they were ready to be planted.

Next time you are in town take notice of the planters and enjoy them. Treat them kindly they don’t like trash or cigarette butts but they do love to be admired. If you are in town at 7:30AM on Tuesdays say hello to the patrons who are busy dead heading and keeping the planters looking their best.

Phillis Farreny

Sue Crawford

Mary Cender and Pam Meador

New LIB Award Display case at the Rollins Community Center

Lewes in Bloom is pleased to announce that we finally have a home for all our awards and accolades. Late in February, a new showcase was ordered and delivered in mid-March, just as the pandemic struck. Now that the Rollins Center has reopened, we’ve been able to get the showcase set up. It can be found in the section of the museum set aside for local non-profits. When you get a chance, stop by and take a look. It’s beautiful, as you can see from the photo.


Spring Planting 2020

Stango Park

Stango Park

Stango Park

Stango Park

Stango Park

2nd Street Baskets

2nd Street Baskets

Betsy Hansot at the Lewes Firehouse

Marilyn Vai at Dogfish Graves Corners

Kathleen Merlo and Becky Forney at 1812

Joe Rooney and Stuart Weiner at 1812

Catherine Harris

Frank and Deb Cebula

Nancy Palladino

Gavin Braithwaite and Heidi Zimmerman

Beth Mills

Mary Jo Johnson

Barbara and Don Coburn

Maryanne Cherry

Becky Forney and Stuart Weiner

New Planter Boxes for the Children's Learning Garden - January 2020

Our carpentry crew built 9 new raised planter boxes for the Children’s Learning Garden.  The volunteers were Joe Rooney, Fred Phillips, John Hanson, Marty Sechehay, George Temme, Guy Townsend and Bud Vai.

A Big Thank You to everyone who helped build the planter boxes this week.

The crew  set a record for speed this year. Nine large planters completed in just four days. We started with 83 twelve foot long boards, 8 eight foot long 4 X 4’s and 14 eight foot 2X4’s. Cut them into 360 different parts and used over 1,000 screws to build the planters. That was a lot of cutting up and screwing around. And we even lined each planter box with a layer of plastic.

The next phase of the project will entail removal and disposal of the existing old planters in the CLG. Hopefully we can coordinate with the weatherman to schedule a couple of warm days when the ground is not too frozen.