- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
This week’s sunshine and warm temperatures drew even determined couch potatoes out of their homes and into their yards to appreciate the budding trees and consider how to dive into the spring planting season.
Members of the Sotterley Garden Guild have been thinking for the better part of a year about what area residents will want to add to their yards and gardens. They’ll offer some answers during the guild’s annual plant sale and exchange on April 27 and 28.
“All through this last summer and fall, we were dividing plants and potting,” said Daphne McGuire of Morganza, as she and other guild members continued that work Wednesday morning next to an outbuilding near Sotterley’s Colonial Revival garden.
The guild focuses on perennials and bulbs and a few shrubs and trees for its sale. Herbs, peonies, Shasta daisies, lambs ear, sundrops, columbines, lily of the valley, irises, hostas, sedums, ferns and more will be available, generally in $3 pots and slightly larger $4 pots.
A variety of other groups — including The Center for Life Enrichment, Summerseat Farm, the Dr. James A. Forrest Career and Technology Center and several garden clubs — are also set to help residents get started with fundraising plant sales throughout the county, starting this weekend and during the next several weeks.
The Sotterley Garden Guild moved its sale dates to the end of April so that their event wouldn’t coincide with some of the other sales that have been introduced over the years. “We try to not be in competition with the others,” McGuire said.
One of the selling points for Sotterley’s plant sale is that the plants come from the historic site. “Most of them are part of Sotterley,” McGuire said.
“And they are very carefully tended throughout the year,” said Bob Aldridge of Leonardtown, another guild member.
The plant sale has grown over the years, McGuire said, noting there was a time when the members were dividing and repotting plants to sell just in the weeks leading up to the sale. Now, the sale has grown so large, that it is an event that is on the member’s minds year round, and they now prepare the plants for sale only at the optimum time for the plant. Some plants needed to be prepped in the fall to be at their healthiest.
“It is a pleasure to see things come out better,” said Sara Fisher of Leonardtown, another guild member working on Wednesday.
And the year-round approach apparently works with regular visitors to the sale. “We have a lot of repeat customers,” McGuire said.
The Sotterley plant sale not only provides a variety of plants for area consumers, it is also the main fundraising event for the guild, which then uses the large majority of those funds to pay for garden-related maintenance at Sotterley and sometimes for other items that Sotterley needs. The Sotterley Garden Guild is an all-volunteer group of about 20 to 25 members that maintains the historic site’s garden and advises and assists on the landscaping of the historic core, Aldridge said.
It’s a big job, and the group is open to additional members. “Always,” Aldridge said. “We need quite a few more ... You don’t even have to be terribly experienced.”
Anyone interested in getting involved with the Sotterley Garden Guild is encouraged to contact Kim Tune, membership and volunteer coordinator at Sotterley, at 301-373-2280 or email@example.com.