Shell Island Garden Club Beautifies Historical Village

Members of the Shell Islands Garden Club recently took on a big project at the Sanibel Historical Village. They worked for approximately eight hours over two days to beautify the area in front of historic Rutland House, near the entrance to the village.

Martha Langbo, Anita Smith, Nancy DeBenedictis, Harriet Pattison

“The ladies of the garden club did a wonderful job, more than we could have hoped for,” said Executive Director Emilie Alfino. “It was sweltering hot, but they kept raking and digging and planting until the whole area was transformed. It’s beautiful.”

The 92-member Shell Islands Garden Club is celebrating its 25th year and has taken on this project with gusto. “I would like to see this be our project, our place to beautify,” said club President Gerri Perkins. “This is just a start.”

Perkins said the club considered other worthy locations but decided on the historical village as a place where they could really make a difference.

The club’s Beautification Committee, under the direction of Chair Mimie DiRico, planned and supervised the work. The plantings are all native and included blanket flower, dune sunflower, back-eyed Susan, and porter weed.

Beautification Committee Chair Mimie DiRico, Peg McGann, Barbara Wilgus, club President Gerri Perkins, and Jeannine Brinkerhoff

“We are so grateful for the work and for the donation of the garden club,” Alfino said. “The club paid for the plants and mulch and soil. We’re absolutely thrilled.”

The historical village is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. The village is located at 950 Dunlop Road (next to BIG ARTS). Admission is $10 for adults 18 and older; those under 18 and members are free. Docent-guided tours are available at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at no extra charge, based upon docent availability. There is handicap access to all buildings. For information, call 472-4648 during business hours or visit


Sanibel Historical Museum and Village will begin its regular schedule on December 2, 2023, Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Sanibel Historical Village is located at 950 Dunlop Road (next to BIG ARTS) and there is handicap access to eight of the nine buildings. Admission is FREE for SHMV members and $15 for non-members (adults ages 18 years and up).  For more information, call 472-4648 during museum hours or visit

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