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Satisfied shopper Lillian Griffis filled a box of plants to bring back to her Arlington, Mass. home. (APRIL GUILMET PHOTO)


Windham Garden Club’s plant sale keeps growing

WINDHAM — They came, they shopped, they planted.

Gardeners and green thumbs of all ages, some of them driving for an hour or more to attend the Windham Garden Club’s annual plant sale on Saturday morning, arrived early and prepared, eager to get their hands on the season’s best pickings.

Held in the Town Hall parking lot each May, the sale is by far the club’s biggest fundraiser, typically raising more than $10,000, according to club member Linda German.

Proceeds from the sale are used toward college scholarships for local students, with all 60 or so of the club’s members participating in the very popular event.

In addition to the scores of locally grown annuals and perennials being sold, the morning’s festivities concluded with a raffle. Two early admissions to next year’s sale were the most coveted prizes.

Last year’s raffle winners, Windham residents Susan Martineau and Roger Kinchen, rose early on Saturday morning to march to the front of the line, their wheelbarrows and red Radio Flyer wagons trailing behind them.

Martineau said she moved to the area several years ago and hasn’t missed a plant sale since.

As she waited by the front of the gate to be admitted for a 15-minute solo trip around the plant sale, Martineau glanced around the parking lot, taking in the fragrant view of peonies, hanging tomatoes and succulents.

“I think I’ll just grab whatever pops up,” she said with a grin.

“Let me tell you, her garden is thriving right now,” German added.

This year’s sale was a first for Kinchen, having been given the lucky ticket by his friend Cheryl Cravino.

Cravino, a Pelham resident who raises award-winning hosta plants, was ineligible to win since she’s an active garden club member.

“Just look at those perennials,” Kinchen said as he made a beeline for a display of bergamot and butterfly bushes.

As the winners loaded up their wagons, the line across the parking lot continued to grow, snaking out onto nearby Lowell Road as club member Jerry Parsons stood on alert, bullhorn in hand, counting down the minutes to the 9:30 a.m. opening time.

The sound of wagon wheels echoed through the parking lot, leaving empty shelves in their wake as gardener after gardener filled boxes and carts with the green and growing treasures.

“The tables will be a lot smaller by 1 o’clock,” German noted, adjusting the colorful silk flowers on her straw hat. “Looks like we’ll be pretty cleared out again this year.”

Making her way to the checkout table, Arlington, Mass., resident Lillian Griffis carried a cardboard box overflowing with geraniums, snapdragons and strawberries.

“I haven’t missed one yet,” said Griffis, whose son lives nearby. “The plants here are simply beautiful; they’ll keep me going all summer long.”

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