Bowdoinham Public Library selling plants to raise funds

Plant sale Chairperson Cathy Reynolds unloading annuals from a grower’s truck Bowdoinham Library Director: Kate Cutko

Bowdoinham Public Library hosts its annual plant sale fundraiser this month, using a hybrid format for the second year in a row during the pandemic.

Library Director Kate Cutko said last year the library raised a third of its operating budget through sales and hopes to do the same this year. The money raised go toward books, programs, staffing and other library resources, she said.

The plant sale went virtual in 2020 in response to COVID-19. In 2021 the library hosted a hybrid event with online sales for annuals, (flowers, herbs and vegetables) and an outdoor, in-person sale for perennials, said Cutko.

Annual plants complete their life cycle in one growing season, while perennials can live for two or more growing seasons.

Cutko declined to comment on both the library’s operating budget and the exact dollar amount of funds raised last year, but said from 1974-2021 the plant sale has raised nearly $ 339,000.

Cutko said the choice to keep the event hybrid was intended to protect the volunteers.

“We have a lot of older volunteers who are still not comfortable being indoors in large groups and we need to keep our volunteers safe,” she said.

Some of the same volunteers who started the fundraiser 49 years ago, still participate, she said.

One of those original volunteers, Betsy Steen of Bowdoinham, hosts the outdoor, in-person sale for perennials at her home. She said 2021 sales were lower than previous years. “We did not make as much as we would have at the town wall because people from far away did not know about it and we did not really advertise it,” she said.

Pre-pandemic, the plant sale was always hosted at Bowdoinham Town Hall, for one day in May, where hundreds of people would attend to buy annuals and perennials, said Cutko.

Steen said the benefit to hosting the event at the town hall was the abundance of information. Each plant had a picture, description and directions of care hanging above. She has not found a way to replicate that at her home, she said.

Annuals being sorted at the Mailly Waterfront Park, ready for customer pickup 2021 Photo contributed by: Bowdoinham Library Director, Kate CutkoAnnuals can be purchased from April 1 – May 14 online and picked up in person at Mailly Waterfront Park on May 14 from 9 am to noon.

Perennials can be purchased in person from May 14 – June 11 at the home of David and Betsy Steen located at 309 Bay Road, Bowdoinham from 9 am to 4 pm

For purchases and questions, visit


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