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Fresh flowers: Annual garden club sale’s return attracts large turnout

By Tabitha Johnston - Chronicle Staff | May 7, 2021

Shepherdstown resident Geoff Coleman, center, takes a plant from Potomac-Mecklenburg Garden Club President-elect Kathy Gilbert, as club member Esther Murphy, left, looks on, during the annual sale on the Trinity Episcopal Church lawn on Saturday. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN — A line of eager gardeners trailed down the block leading to Trinity Episcopal Church on Saturday morning, as they waited in line to get first dibs on items in the Potomac-Mecklenburg Garden Club’s annual plant sale.

The sale, which had to be canceled last year due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, was held on Trinity Episcopal Church’s lawn, as it has been held for many years. While many of the customers were returning from previous years, a number of them were new to the event, including Shepherdstown resident Geoff Coleman.

“This is my first time at the sale. I was looking for local flowers, and was glad to see they were having this,” Coleman said, mentioning the sale’s flowers that had been harvested from club members’ local gardens would grow better in other local gardens, since they had already acclimated to the same environment. “I got into flower gardening recently — I’ve mostly been doing vegetable gardening for the last 20 years.”

For the Best family, finding plants at the sale was a lengthy event, as they filled almost three carts full of plants to add to their garden at their home in Shepherdstown.

“I’ve been told I’ve got enough stuff, but you can never have too many plants or flowers,” said Errika Best, as she and her daughter, McKenna Best, picked out some more plants at the sale. “We have a little bit of everything — dune grass, irises, daylilies, coneflowers, strawberries, blackberries, all kinds of herbs, tomatoes and cucumbers. All sorts of things!”

Left, Errika Best and her daughter, St. Joe’s Parish School fourth grader McKenna Best, look at plants on Trinity Episcopal Church’s lawn Saturday morning. Tabitha Johnston

While Errika and her husband have done gardening for a number of years, their elementary school-aged son and daughter recently joined in gardening, as a family project during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“During COVID, we didn’t have a lot going on,” Errika said. “That was a family project, starting the garden. All four of us will be outside digging holes and giving these little guys a home this afternoon!”

While this was the first time any members of the family have shopped at the sale, Errika said she planned on returning again to it, as she appreciated how proceeds from the sale would be used to fund a college scholarship for a local high school senior and book donations to local school libraries.

“Supporting a small local organization is a worthwhile activity, and I like knowing that the funds will be used for a good cause,” Errika said.

According to Potomac-Mecklenburg Garden Club President-elect Kathy Gilbert, the event turnout was exactly what the club had hoped to see.

“We had a great turn out, like in years before,” Gilbert said. “Everybody really anticipates this. Since we couldn’t have this last year, everybody was really excited to come out!”

Although a few of the plants in the sale were purchased at a discount from Sunny Meadows Garden Center, most of them were from club members’ gardens, according to the club.