A Leesburg woman continues to share the yield of her green thumb with the community.
Large arrangements of pink and red peonies can be spotted at the end of Rachel Roberts’ driveway at 307 Edwards Ferry Road, near downtown. For the fourth year, Roberts is cutting flowers from her garden, arranging them in vases and giving them to anyone who wants to brighten up their home or treat a friend.
In exchange, she asks that people donate money or non-perishable food items to Loudoun Interfaith Relief, the county’s largest food pantry. Passersby will see a moneybox next to the flowers.
Last year, her efforts brought in more than $11,000 for the food pantry.
Roberts, a longtime volunteer at the food pantry, encourages people who take flowers to donate as much as they can afford. They can also make a tax-deducible donation via check, and Loudoun Interfaith Relief will mail them a receipt, if requested.
This is the first year Roberts has offered peonies. “They’re pretty special because they’re so stunning and they have a short season,” she said.
She fills most of her garden with zinnias because with that variety of flower, she said, “the more you cut the more you grow.” But until the zinnias bloom in mid-July, Roberts will likely keep donations coming in through the sale of peonies and other perennials. The donation drive typically runs through October each year, depending on weather conditions.
Roberts said she’s asked a lot about how long she’ll continue to drum up donations for Loudoun Interfaith through flower sales. “I tell them, as long as I’m able I’ll do it,” she said. “Because I know what a difference it makes.”