Dan Benarcik


One dimensional, no. My passions draw me in many different directions. My life has been a persistent collision of horticulture, art, teaching and design. I have built my career nurturing this exhilarating intersection and am fortunate to be at a place where I can showcase all of these skills.




Background


​My mother, a florist and my father a co-owner of a DIY home center, inevitably I grew up with plants and carpentry. This apple did not fall far from the family tree.

I attended the University of Delaware and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Plant Science. Fresh from the University I started work at
Mt. Cuba Center, dedicated to the research and protection of native plants. Working there as the Woods Path gardener I developed a real love of native plants.
Ready for a new challenge, I went to work as a sales representative for Imperial Nurseries, a large East Coast re-wholesaler of landscape plants. During my time there I began to build a network of horticultural professionals that I still rely on to this day. I also gained an understanding of commercial production and the business world.   I realized selling plants didn’t call on my creative skills, certainly my next job would. In 1993, I went to work for
Chanticleer Garden in Wayne, PA. The garden was in its infancy then and it’s been amazing to watch it grow. Unlike many public gardens that seek to educate through plant labels and collections, Chanticleer is about innovation.
The horticulturists there are artists as well and encouraged to explore their ideas through travel and continuing education.
I oversee the
Courtyard Gardens with an emphasis on tropical, sub-tropical and tender perennials for seasonal display. My position at Chanticleer affords me the privilege of creating and maintaining our visitors first and last impression of the garden.  With my feet planted firmly in the soil of Chanticleer I was ready to grow. I began a second career as a public speaker. I’m passionate about gardening so it’s a natural progression to want to share that through speaking. I also joined the Garden Writers Association and am currently a Regional Director. Some of my writing has appeared in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, Martha Stewart Living and Rodale's gardening books. The next step was television. I promoted plants on QVC for Cottage Farms Nursery. Additionally, I was featured on episodes of Cultivating Life.

My enthusiasm for design translates into building furniture both for the garden and for our home. This led me to start teaching
chair building workshops. People feel so empowered when they walk away from class with a beautiful new chair for their gardens. Most participants have never even held a drill. It’s exhilarating to be able to facilitate that.  In my remaining free time, I teach and volunteer. I am part of the continuing education program at Longwood Gardens where I teach the Groundcover classes. Other projects nationally have given me experience in assessment of collections, policies and planning. I volunteer for The Delaware Center for Horticulture’s Rare Plant Auctionas part of the ​Plant Selection Committee and as a Plant Expert at the event.