at Woman’s Club Plant Sale
By Mike Lauterborn
(for Westport News)
Westport, CT – The splashes of red, purple, yellow and pink all about created a cheery warmth and a spring in the step that countered an otherwise overcast uninspiring start to the day.
The colorful palette was chiefly provided by over 500 annuals set on draped tables outside the Westport Woman’s Club at 44 Imperial Ave. as part of the organization’s May Flower Sale Monday, May 2. In addition to the annuals, there were 50 potted herbs, about 60 planters, iron plant stands and decorative pieces available. Flower enthusiasts rotated out continually, browsing, selecting and stepping away with a purchase.
“This is our very first plant sale open to the community,” said Janette Duchnicki, a member of the Club’s garden dept. and the sale organizer. “Previously, we’ve just done a member-only sale. We carefully watched what other garden clubs did and none of them really focused on the annuals and tropicals, which is what we’re spotlighting here.”
Fellow garden club dept. helper Mary Lee Clayton said the sale is key for the Club to be able to continue to carry out its community mission. “We support about 35 charitable organizations, focusing primarily on women and children,” she said. “We also have a scholarship fund. One-hundred percent of net revenue from the sale will go to our community affairs group for dissemination to our charities. Our expectation is to raise about $3,000 and we plan to expand on the sale in future years.”
Wendy McKeon, chairperson for the Club’s scholarship committee, said, “I’m happy that a portion of the funds will go towards scholarships, which are for Staples High School students. They’re very deserving and are doing a lot for the community in terms of service.”
Shopping for plants, Westporter Christa Panny said, “I do a lot of annual gardens. This is the time of the year. I came down to find beautiful plants and support the Club. I like geraniums and New Guinean impatiens. The hanging baskets are also great.”
Fellow shopper Carol Burgess, of Westport, had similar favorites. “I really like the impatiens, but also the pink dipladenias. There are some great plants here, at great prices.”
Inge Van Gelder was getting a little assistance from Jane Potkin in putting together flowers for a hanging basket. “I’d buy everything, they’re so gorgeous, but I don’t have room!”
Opposite Van Gelder, Westporter Roberta Krauthamer had gathered up a box of petunias. “I thought I’d find some beautiful plants to start my spring garden, and there are some great selections here,” she said. “I’m an amateur yet enthusiastic gardener. I love to add color to my garden every spring, especially with new annuals.”
While this was a Woman’s Club event and there were mainly women shuttling through, Steve Raffel bravely stood his ground and proclaimed his modest gardener status. “The plants just couldn’t be nicer,” he said. “Today I’m looking for a hanging basket for Mother’s Day.”