UNION COUNTY, NJ – Deer-resistant perennials, herb and veggie seedlings, and potted annuals in full flower are just some of the offerings for sale at the 26th annual Union County Spring Garden Fair and Plant Sale on Sunday, May 17, noon to 4:00 p.m. at the Demonstration Garden by the Trailside Nature and Science Center in the Watchung Reservation, in Mountainside. Admission is free, and free parking is available.
The Spring Garden Fair and Plant Sale is one of many civic services performed by the volunteer Master Gardeners of Union County. All proceeds from the sale help to fund Master Gardener community programs throughout the year, including a horticultural scholarship for local youth.
“Every year the Spring Garden Fair inspires hundreds of gardeners, and it’s a wonderful example of the difference that the Master Gardeners makes in the life of our Union County community,” said Freeholder Chairman Mohamed S. Jalloh. “This is an exemplary group of volunteers and their efforts are deeply appreciated.”
The Spring Garden Fair features a wide variety of plants for sale including deer resistant, drought tolerant, fragrant, and many easy-to-grow plants for beginner gardeners.
Other popular offerings include heirloom varieties of tomatoes and tomato varieties for containers and small gardens, along with many other vegetables, several varieties of hot peppers, a large selection of herbs, hanging baskets, houseplants, and annual and perennial flowers.
In addition to selling plants, baked goods, garden crafts, and garden supplies, the Spring Garden Fair is packed with activities for gardeners, young and old:
• Guided tours of the Demonstration Garden complex including the vegetable and herb gardens.
• Displays and information for “Square Foot Gardening,” Rain Barrels, and Rain Gardens.
• Information on joining the Master Gardeners and the 4-H Master Tree Stewards.
• Free children's activities, including face painting, making bird feeders, making grass seed heads and planting seeds.
• Free Garden Helpline clinic and Rutgers information fact sheets for gardening problems (attendees can bring plant and insect samples for diagnosis, and a Rutgers soil test kit is available for sale).
• Union County Division of Mosquito Control Supervisors available to answer questions
Free nearby parking is located at the Trailside Nature & Science Center parking lot and the Scout Camping Area. Both are accessible from the corner of New Providence Road and Coles Avenue in Mountainside. Additional free parking is available in the Loop playground area, located a short walk away on the other side of Trailside.
Visitors are advised to bring a small wagon to convey their purchases. Sorry – no pets are permitted at the Garden Fair.
The Master Gardeners, supported in part by the Freeholder Board, are trained and organized by the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) Cooperative Extension to assist in delivering horticulture programs and information to the general public. Anyone with an interest in gardening and a commitment to volunteer service can become a Master Gardener. No previous education or training in horticulture is required.
For more information on the Master Gardeners program, contact Judi Laganga at the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Office located in the Colleen Frasier county services building, 300 Westfield at 908-654-9854, or visit online at mastergardeners-uc.org. More information about all Union County Extension programs is available at ucnj.org/rce.
Cooperating Agencies are Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and County Boards of Chosen Freeholders. The Rutgers Cooperative Extension, a unit of the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, is an equal opportunity program provider and employer.