Garden sale, tour fund the fight against domestic abuse
SHARON â€”Elaine LaRoche has been working in Beijing, China, since 2008, but she has continued to be involved in Trade Secrets, the weekend-long garden event to benefit Womenâ€™s Support Services (WSS).
LaRoche has been involved in the annual fundraiser since its inception 10 years ago; funds support the Sharon-based organization (formerly in Falls Village), which supports victims of domestic abuse.
In the early years of Trade Secrets, LaRoche was a vendor and was there with her Lakeville gift and clothing shop, Passports.
But for the past few years she has also hosted the event at her home, Lion Rock Farm in Sharon. Given how much the garden show and sale have grown over the years, this is no small feat from an organizational point of view.
So, she has come back from China this year to help oversee things. Of course, the Trade Secrets volunteers have most of the kinks worked out and most of the angles covered. Still, the unexpected always arises â€” like the muddy Saturday a few years ago when cars kept getting stuck in the parking field and had to be pulled out by some of LaRocheâ€™s farm staff and her LionRock Farm tractors.
She views Trade Secrets from two different perspectives. First there is the event itself, which includes garden tours in the area on Sunday (May 16), and the rare plant and garden accessories sale, which takes place Saturday (May 15) at Lion Rock. Vendors from all along the East Coast clamor to be a part of it; shoppers from all along the East Coast line up to shop at it; garden clubs from around the country arrive to soak up the atmosphere â€” and get a few pointers for their own fundraisers.
Then, there is Womenâ€™s Support Services. LaRoche said, â€œItâ€™s terrific that this very large event can help such an important cause. From the cause perspective itâ€™s extremely important. There are problems that are of interest and concern to everyone. And the involvement of WSS has been extraordinary.â€
It takes a dedicated committee working for months, and legions of volunteers on the days of the sale and tour to bring about its success â€”and to keep it fresh and enticing.
Every year seems to bring a new addition; this year, for the first time, there will be a lecture by Tom Armstrong, director emeritus of the Whitney Museum of American Art and chairman of the board of the Garden Conservancy. His talk will be on â€œAbstraction: Art, Home and Landscape.â€
And of course, there will be many of the favorites, including well-known locals such as Michael Trapp of Cornwall (antique and ornamental garden objects) and Dan Dwyer of Salisbury (Johnnycake Books).
Breakfast and lunch will be served in the main barn between the house and the pool. There is a new greenhouse and there will be lots of tents strategically placed around the gardens and orchards of Lion Rock Farm.
The sale at the farm is Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. ($35 for a ticket; early buying for $100 is from 8 a.m. and includes free breakfast).
The garden tours are Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost is $50 in advance, $60 the day of the tour. This year there are four gardens. Three are in Kent; the fourth is Trade Secrets founder Bunny Williamsâ€™s extensive grounds and gardens in Falls Village.
Visit tradesecretsct.com for more information.
Womenâ€™s Support Services provides aid and services to victims of domestic violence and abuse in Salisbury, North Canaan, Falls Village, Cornwall, Kent, Sharon and nearby New York and Massachusetts. Services include a 24-hour crisis hotline; emergency shelter; individual support counseling for adults and youths; legal, medical and social service advocacy; support groups; and community education and prevention programs. All WSS services are free of charge and totally confidential.