In what has become a favorite spring tradition, hundreds of gardening enthusiasts of all ages are expected to attend this year's Master Gardeners of Union County annual Spring Garden Fair and Plant Sale. The event is set for Sunday, May 16 from 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. rain or shine at the Union County Trailside Nature and Science Center in the Watchung Reservation, in Mountainside.

Along with a wide variety of flowers, shrubs and ground covers, the sale features many vegetable and herb seedlings including the legendary Ramapo Tomato. Many of the plants are deer resistant, drought tolerant, and easy to grow for beginning gardeners.

"For Union County residents who are new to gardening, this is a great chance to pick up some good seedlings and get advice from expert Master Gardener volunteers," said Union County Freeholder Chairman Daniel P. Sullivan.

All proceeds from the sale help to fund community activities sponsored by the Master Gardeners. These include horticultural therapy, flowers for local cancer patients and their families, vegetables for food pantries, beautification projects, scholarships and more.

The Master Gardeners is a program of the Rutgers Cooperative Extension, supported in part by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

The sale also features exhibits, demonstrations, gardening advice, garden tours, children's crafts and other fun activities, and a café with home baked goods. Mosquito control experts will be on hand to answer questions.

Parking for the event is free. Visitors are advised to bring a small wagon or cart to carry their purchases. For maps and directions to the Trailside Center visit www.ucnj.org/parks

The Master Gardeners of Union County are celebrating 22 years of volunteer community service in 2010. Any Union County resident with an interest in gardening and a commitment to volunteer service can receive training to become a Master Gardener. No previous experience in horticulture is required.

Applications to join the next Master Gardener training session will be available at the Plant Sale, or call the Extension office at 908-654-9854. More information is available at www.mastergardeners-uc.org