Rain and even a rumble or two of thunder did nothing to keep the Westport Garden Club's annual plant sale from blossoming Friday morning on Jesup Green.

Balancing umbrellas and draped in rain gear, dozens of customers were lined up with wheelbarrows by morning along the green even before the sale began. The club was offering more than a thousand plants of all varieties, as well as flower arrangements, baked goods, collectibles, garden supplies and more.

Asked what draws her back to the sale each year, Debbie Wood of Westport said, "The prices. You usually pay half of what you do at a nursery."

Further, she said, since most of the plants have been grown by the 50 or so members of the club, the quality is exceptional.

Proceeds from the 90-year-old club's annual sale account for the greater part of its budget, which is also supplemented through the town. Expenses go mainly toward upkeep of a variety of public properties, including several historic cemeteries, parks and other special spots, such as Adams Academy.

"You can't buy the plants that we sell here," said Joni Andrews, club president. "They're so special and unique."

"It's just a great variety and a diversity of plants," said Richard Green of Easton. "And the fact that it's all from local gardens is fantastic."

"Plus it's all going to a good cause," he said.

"This is a hands-on group," noted Topsy Siderowf, publicity chairwoman for the club. She said the tradition of members pitching in to help began in 1928 when the club's first fundraiser collected money for Norwalk Hospital.

Regarding the rainy weather, Andrews said it wouldn't deter an outdoor enthusiast.

"For people who are dedicated to gardening, rain doesn't slow them down," she said.