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Volunteer Spotlight: Mary Ott

Mary Ott: DRHS’s “Gardening Guru”

Mary and Merle Ott were drawn to Duxbury in 1980 because of the town’s strong sense of community. It was obvious to them that people cared about keeping long held traditions and making decisions to keep Duxbury the special place it continues to be. Today, Mary is a lead volunteer and donor for the gardening committee at DRHS, instrumental in planning feasibility and resources, as well as lending the DRHS her valuable time, expertise and labor! She is the recipient of the 2016 Volunteer Award in Lands & Gardens. We wanted to know more about Mary and she was kind enough to answer some questions.



How did you become involved with the DRHS?

My first involvement with the DRHS was as a “foodie” for the annual King Caesar Christmas Party. It was great fun to see the quiet museum quality house “come alive” for the holiday season; silver polished, rooms aglow. For many years I joined friends to decorate rooms in theme for the party. In 1991 we had a catastrophe when our tree, which was decorated with antique chandelier crystals, fell flat on the floor the night before the opening. As part of the fundraising for the Nathaniel Winsor House acquisition, I served with a great group who transformed the garage into a Seaside Boutique gift shop.  All good times!

What is your favorite aspect of being a part of DRHS?

I love gardening.  For the past few years, I have been working with Jayne O’Farrell and the “Windsor Gardening Group” to restore and maintain the gardens at our beautiful properties. The budgetary constraints of maintaining historical buildings do not leave much room for gardening projects, so volunteers are really appreciated.  Workdays are held on the second Thursday of the month from 10:00-12:00.  We welcome new helpers!

Why do you choose to support the DRHS?

For me, supporting DRHS is really giving back, because over the years I have gotten so much out of my association.  The friendships, education and challenging opportunities have been wonderful. The DRHS is a great example of community spirit recognizing the importance of preserving our past and moving the organization into the future  There are so many opportunities for volunteers to contribute and a host of worthwhile programs to participate in. And at day’s end, there is nothing like the view from the veranda at the Nathaniel Winsor Jr. House!