February 20, 2011

Penelope O’Sullivan: Living in Delaware Changed My Life

Sometimes you’re lucky enough to live in a place that sparks the imagination. For me, old New Castle, Delaware’s colonial capital, was that special spot. I loved walking on New Castle’s cobbled streets, playing with my son on the Green, visiting homes dating from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, dining, shopping, and checking out museums.
Founded in 1651 by Peter Stuyvesant, the last Dutch colonial governor of New Netherland, New Castle is living history. Past and present exist side by side in a tiny place that you can comfortably explore in a day, or even an afternoon, without a car.
For exercise, there’s a park in town. Battery Park hugs the Delaware River and offers residents and visitors alike splendid river views, a 2.5 mile walking path, a playground, and picnic tables. I spent happy hours there walking, enjoying my son, watching fireworks displays, and hatching plans for my future.
Living in New Castle changed my life. I not only became a mother there, but I also wrote my first paid stories for The Sunday News Journal in a small apartment by the park. My career evolved from free-lance art reviewer to fulltime arts critic and newspaper reporter. Then, a move to coastal New Hampshire inspired me to take my writing national. I followed my instinct and wrote about gardening and design, dual passions that led to 13 published books and a new job as the editor of Coastal Home magazine.
Trees that I liked in Battery Park still appear in my talks and in my book, The Homeowner’s Complete Tree & Shrub Handbook: The Essential Guide to Choosing, Planting, and Maintaining Perfect Landscape Plants (Storey Publishing, 2007). If pruning trees and shrubs stumps you, give my newest book a look: The Pruning Answer Book (Storey, 2011) offers simple explanations on how and when to prune. You can find it in bookstores late this month.
Check out my obsession with woody plants or contact me through my website/blog: http://www.penelopeosullivan.com/
Coastal Home magazine: http://www.coastalhg.com/

Penelope's Updated Biography: 
Penelope O’Sullivan is an author, designer, speaker, and woody plant lover, who turned her suburban New Hampshire property into a mini-arboretum. Her gardening experiences inspired her to write The Homeowner’s Complete Tree & Shrub Handbook: The Essential Guide to Choosing, Planting, and Maintaining Perfect Landscape Plants (Storey Publishing, 2007) and 12 more books on trees, shrubs, hedges, flowers, herbs, and garden design. Her newest book, The Pruning Answer Book: Solutions to Every Problem You’ll Ever Face; Answers to Every Question You’ll Ever Ask, is being published by Storey in March 2011. Penny is the editor of Coastal Home magazine, a regional New England publication. She also writes for national magazines, including Country Gardens, The American Gardener, Organic Gardening, and Better Homes & Gardens. Penny belongs to the Garden Writers Association and Toastmasters International. She trained as a master gardener in Delaware, earned a certificate in ornamental horticulture at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania, and holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Delaware. Visit her online blog: http://www.penelopeosullivan.com/


  1. Hi Penny, I enjoyed your blog today. The images of Delaware were rich with your love for the state. Thanks.

  2. A small city and state with lots of history. You made me want to visit.

  3. Penelope, Lovely description of Delaware and inspiring personal experience. Congratulations on your many writing successes.

    Fran Shaff, Award-Winning Author

  4. I've never been to Delaware--would love to visit the state sometime!

  5. I have been to Delaware. Met some very nice Troopers. My hubby was one as well at the time. Everyone there was very nice when our car died.
    debby236 at att dot net

  6. Penelope O'SullivanFebruary 20, 2011

    It was fun to write about my time in Delaware. It helped me see how the simple joys and challenges of my life in New Castle led to good outcomes years later.

  7. I love history and have always wanted to visit Delaware. My dh made it there last year but I couldn't go. boohoo. Loved your blog, except it made me want to visit even more. :)


  8. New Castle sounds lovely. When I have the money to travel, I'd love to go there.

  9. New Castle sounds like a very fun place to visit. I love to see gardens, though I'm not skilled with plants. they seem to shrink and die when I'm around.

  10. I'm trying again to leave a comment. I love New Castle, it's a quaint, charming town. I spent three years traveling to Delaware from neighboring NJ for graduate courses, so I got to know many lovely places in your state. Thank you for a wonderful blog.


Follow 50 Authors from 50 States blog for the latest