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Mt Cuba Center
Back to News In The News – July 17, 2020

In The News

Mt. Cuba Center Named Best Botanical Garden

The public garden won by voting as part of USA Today’s 10Best Reader’s Choice Awards

Gardener Statue displaying #1 sign with USA Today logo.

Hockessin, De. (July 17, 2020) – Mt. Cuba Center, a public garden dedicated to native plants and ecological gardening, won the top spot in USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards for “Best Botanical Garden” in North America. It competed against 18 others, including several well-established institutions including Chicago Botanic Garden and The New York Botanical Garden.

“Mt. Cuba Center’s amazing community of members, guests, students, volunteers, staff, and board members all contributed to our success, as they do every day,” said Jeff Downing, executive director at Mt. Cuba. “Mt. Cuba is about building a community where all of our incremental, individual efforts add up to larger, positive results. The USA Today 10Best contest was a great example of how, together, we can accomplish big things.”

Located in the heart of America’s Garden Capital, Mt. Cuba is one of more than 30 public gardens within 30 miles of Philadelphia. The community appreciates the garden’s incredible horticultural heritage and rallied behind the campaign for best public garden.

“The regional garden and conservation community was super-enthusiastic and supportive, showing great pride and engagement with the contest,” Downing added. “State representative Krista Griffith helped get the word out and rally support, as did the UD Water Resources Center, The Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County, and all of our conservation partners.”

Conservation is central to Mt. Cuba’s mission. Gardening with natives is becoming more mainstream and the horticultural team at Mt. Cuba has extensive experience and expertise working with plants indigenous to the eastern United States. The staff cultivates landscapes that are every bit as lush, beautiful, and bountiful as any garden around, while also supporting birds, butterflies and a wide array of wildlife.

Mt. Cuba supports research, conservation, education, and numerous programs throughout Delaware and the surrounding region. The gardens are home to more than 2,300 different native plants, some threatened by extinction. Surrounding the gardens are more than 1,000 acres of natural lands featuring Appalachian Piedmont landscapes, flora, and fauna.

The organization thanks everyone who participated in voting for their favorite botanical garden in 2020.


About Mt. Cuba Center

With paths taking guests from the formal gardens of a du Pont mansion through lush woodlands and picturesque meadows with stunning vistas, Mt. Cuba Center is a botanical garden that puts the beauty of native landscapes on display to inspire conservation. What began in the 1930s as the private estate of Mr. and Mrs. Lammot du Pont Copeland is now a public garden that highlights the beauty and value of native plants. In addition to cultivating the public garden’s formal and naturalistic landscapes, Mt. Cuba Center’s staff conducts research, connects guests to the natural world, and teaches students about native plant gardening.

USA Today 10Best Reader's Choice Awards 2020 Best Botanical Garden #1 Mt. Cuba Center logo

About USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards

The 10Best Readers’ Choice Award contest launches new categories every other Monday at noon, revealing each category’s 20 nominees. After 4 weeks of voting, the contest closes on the 28th day at noon. On the Friday after voting ends, winners are revealed. Rules allow the public the right to vote online for one nominee per category, per day.

Nominees for all categories are chosen by a panel of relevant experts which include a combination of editors from USA TODAY; editors from; relevant expert contributors; and sources for both these media and other Gannett properties. The nomination panel for each award category is displayed on its associated contest page. All voting is digital and the 10Best Readers’ Choice Award contest is accessible on the website.

While the 10Best Readers’ Choice Award contest lives on – a standalone travel media site – it is promoted across USA TODAY Travel Media Group’s digital and mobile products, as well as via social media. Nominees are also announced and/or promoted across relevant USA TODAY departments, and through Gannett media outlets. provides users with original, unbiased, and experiential travel content of top attractions, things to see and do, and restaurants for top destinations in the U.S. and around the world. The core of the site’s uniqueness is its team of local travel experts: a well-traveled and well-educated group who are not only experts in their fields – and their cities – but discriminating in their tastes. These local experts live in the city they write about so the content is constantly updated. averages 5 million visitors per month. It was acquired by USA TODAY in January of 2013.

USA TODAY is a multi-platform news and information media company. Founded in 1982, USA TODAY’s mission is to serve as a forum for better understanding and unity to help make the USA truly one nation. Through its unique visual storytelling, USA TODAY delivers high-quality and engaging content across print, digital, social and video platforms. An innovator of news and information, USA TODAY reflects the pulse of the nation and serves as the host of the American conversation — today, tomorrow and for decades to follow. USA TODAY, the nation’s number one newspaper in print circulation with an average of more than 1.6 million daily, and, an award-winning newspaper website launched in 1995, reach a combined 6.6 million readers daily. USA TODAY is a leader in mobile applications with more than 16 million downloads on mobile devices. USA TODAY is owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI).