2011-05-19 / News

Garden club prepares for annual plant sale

By Margo Sullivan

Gifts that keep on growing will arrive at East Ferry for the Quononoquott Garden Club’s annual plant sale on Saturday, May 21, from 9 a.m. to noon.

“We’re having a variety of different plants,” said Joan Vessella, who is in charge of publicity. ”They’re a great value.” Buyers can take home “very big pots of plants” for a reasonable price, with most items in the $4 to $10 range.

“They’re going to get a lot for their money,” she said.

According to club President Rita Antine, customers will see their money sown back into the town because all of the proceeds go to keeping Jamestown in bloom.

“This sale is for all the beautifi cation we do,” she said, mentioning the Town Hall landscaping, the new planters at the marina, the Fire Museum’s Memorial Garden and all the flowers downtown.

Last year, for example, plant sale proceeds helped pay for new planters to replace the broken old barrels at the marina, Antine said. She credited the Chamber of Commerce for help arranging the purchase. The sale also paid for new planters behind Town Hall and the landscaping there.

“It’s the only fundraiser we have,” according to former club president Jillian Meyer, who said past sales have been successful.

Plant sale money raised $6,000 to do the Town Hall landscaping. The club in 2010 won national recognition for the Town Hall work. The National Garden Club Association gave the Quononoquott Garden Club its civic beautification award, the Kellogg Award.

“We were so pleased,” Meyer said, along with commending the “little club of 44 people.” The job took two years. The Public Works Department helped with digging, and the garden club continues to expand the landscaping to the rear of the building and the parking lot.

Meyer said the town had an original landscaping design, but the garden club modified it.

“We changed quite a few things,” she said, with help from members like Anna Bernath, who drew the landscape design, and Joyce Allphin, who kept the book of evidence, which documented the work with photos and a story.

The grounds look more beautiful every year as the club adds more plants, she said.

Saturday, customers can also expect a big choice of annuals, like nasturtium, begonias and zinnias, Vessella said. Exeter’s Our Kids Farm will also deliver geraniums, which come in a riot of colors – red, white, pale and hot pink, salmon and magenta, she said.

The perennials, of course, are also coming back. “Most important, we’re sharing the things we know grow,” Meyer said.

“Our usual perennials are delicately selected,” Vessella said, from the club member’s own gardens. “They’re hardy to this zone and will flourish in this soil.”

Last year’s herbs proved so popular that the club has decided to include an assortment again. “We have basil, and sage, rosemary, chive and oregano,” she said.

New for this year are vegetables, and the selection includes heritage tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce and peppers. “We’re going along with the first lady,” Vessella said, referring to Michelle Obama’s White House Victory Garden.

The club also has a deal on PalmFlex gloves at $6 a pair.

“They’re sturdy, flexible and thin,” she said. Browsers can find other deals at the treasure table, where used gardening books, baskets and vases can be had for modest sums.

The plant sale also pays for all the bulbs and flowers. Club members plant and tend the flowers beside the Fort Wetherill sign and all the “Welcome to Jamestown” signs, as well as the display at the cemetery and Four Corners, Vessella said. They also are responsible for the planters at East Ferry and behind the Town Hall. The members follow a schedule for watering and weeding, she said.

The Public Works Department helps with some hard jobs, like digging around the Fort Wetherill sign, Antine added.

With plant sale money, the club has also bought benches and trash receptacles for the marina.

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