Rose Garden Party Honors Major Donors

Thousands of roses were at peak bloom, and the sun was shining bright at the 10th annual Jasper Crane Rose Garden Party in the historic Brandywine Park on June 1st. This year’s sell-out event (over 300 hundred attended) celebrated the contributions of key individuals who have had an enormous impact on both the uniquely beautiful garden in Brandywine Park and other Wilmington Parks projects.

This year the Friends of the Wilmington Parks honored parks advocate and former Development Director Joseph P. Melloy, Sr., who raised over $500,000 to fund the design and complete restoration of the Sugar Bowl Pavilion, a project which was celebrated just last fall with a grand re-opening after decades of neglect. Joe’s late wife Alberta Melloy, who was the Lead Floral Designer at Winterthur Museum, was honored at the Rose Garden Party in 2011. Five of Joe and Bert’s six children were at the event on Thursday.

“Our efforts give children a new appreciation of the things that are out here and nature in our very, very historic area,” said Melloy.

And honoree Isabella Speakman Timon, a great grand-daughter of Jasper Crane and a former Friends of Wilmington Parks Steward, was presented with a framed re-print of the blueprints for Jasper Crane’s residence and gardens on Edgehill Road in Westover Hills. The Jasper Crane Residence blueprint shows a large rose garden which served as the primary source of the 650 rose bushes of 57 varieties which he donated in the initial installation of the rose garden in 1933.  During the Depression era, Crane’s donation from his personal residence was quite extraordinary.

The Rose Garden party is one of the most beautiful in the Brandywine Valley. “With our roses in peak bloom, this is a great time to gather with some of Wilmington’s most engaged citizens and parks and garden enthusiasts of all ages,” said Friends of Wilmington Parks Executive Director Brenda Joy Good.

The evening included delectable passed hors d’oeuvres catered by young chefs from William Penn Bistrounder the direction of Chef Kip Poole, generous donations of  craft beers from Twin Lakes Brewery, including a special rose-themed beer, wines from around the world from Moore Brothers Wine Company, and pastries from De La Coeur Café et Patisserie.

Live music by two young songwriter musicians from Cab Calloway School of the Arts, horse-drawn carriage rides, activities and face painting by Dori Vostok of Party Business for your children rounded out the entertainment. 

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About the Contributor

Christy Fleming

Christy Fleming

The managing editor of, Christy Fleming also supports a variety of non-profit initiatives in Delaware. Her background includes positions in public relations, advertising and journalism.

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