Historic Annapolis

Plant Sale Keeps Things Fresh at the Paca House

Date: Capital Gazette, May 9, 2016

After more than 30 years, the William Paca Garden plant sale continues to raise enough money to keep one of the more picturesque Annapolis landmarks looking as good as new.

The annual sale raises close to $20,000 every year during Mother's Day weekend — money that goes to maintaining the 2-acre Colonial garden outside the home of William Paca, one of Maryland's four signers of the Declaration of Independence and the state's third governor.

"It's just beautiful," said Evelyn Carlson, who works in visitor services at the Paca House. "People come from everywhere to just experience this."

Paula Bu made the trip from Philadelphia so she could set foot on the old land.


The garden at the Paca House offers visitors an experience that is hard to come by anywhere else in the city.

"It's the only historic property in Annapolis where the 18th-century garden has been reconstructed and is open to the public," said Mollie Ridout, director of horticulture for Historic Annapolis.

A variety of plants were available for purchase, including wild flowers, vines and vegetable starts.

"(I come here) just to see if I can find something I don't have," said avid gardener Bob Bryant.

The event also has something to offer people like Ed Byrns, of St. Margarets, who is doing some landscaping work on this property.

"We're trying to naturalize an area so they have a lot of native (plants)," he said.

The garden sale was an added bonus for some of those out-of-town tourists.

"I really love historical houses and we heard about the garden, so just decided to come out and look around and then we saw the plant sale," said Whitney Viets, who was visiting from New York.
 

Ridout puts on the garden sale with a team of employees and volunteers. And while she described walking in the garden as "time travel," she said it also has a modern application.

"It's a green space for downtown Annapolis," she said. "There are trees and shrubs out there that are helping to clear the air."

The Paca House was restored by Historic Annapolis in 1965 and is recognized as a National Historic Landmark. Guided tours of the house are a signature attraction in Annapolis. The garden was restored based on information from historic artwork and archaeological findings. It features heirloom plants, a pond with a Chinese bridge and a full-scale summer house.

 

 

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