MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ - A rainy spring is setting the stage for a promising summer growing season, and gardening enthusiasts can stock up on plants, seedlings and other supplies at the 28th annual Master Gardeners of Union County Spring Garden Fair and Plant Sale. The event takes place this year on Sunday May 21, 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m. on the grounds of the Union County Demonstration Garden, located by the Trailside Nature and Science Center in the Watchung Reservation at 452 New Providence Road in Mountainside.
“A visit to the Spring Garden Fair is a fun, inspiring way to kick off the growing season,” said Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen. “The event is packed with activities for all ages, and our Master Gardeners offer guidance and information for gardeners at every level of experience from beginner on up.”
Admission to the Garden Fair is free, and parking is also free. Visitors are advised that all sales are cash only.
“All proceeds from the Garden Fair and Plant Sale go to fund the many volunteer activities of the Master Gardeners, including community projects and educational programs,” said Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski. “Stocking up at the Garden Fair is a good way to help the mission of this outstanding volunteer organization while improving your own garden, too.”
The Spring Garden Fair features deer resistant, drought tolerant and fragrant plants that thrive in Union County, including many easy-to-grow plants for beginner gardeners. The Spring Garden Fair is also known for a large selection of herbs and tomatoes including the popular Ramapo and the new Rutgers 250.
Along with plants, baked goods, books, crafts, and garden supplies for sale, the Spring Garden Fair offers free activities for gardeners of all ages including:
- Guided tours of the Demonstration Garden 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.
- Children's activities (children must be accompanied by adult during activities).
- Garden clinic and Rutgers information fact sheets for troubleshooting garden problems.
Attendees can bring plant and insect samples for diagnosis, and a Rutgers soil test kit is available for sale. Free parking is located nearby at the Trailside Nature and Science Center parking lot and the Scout Camping Area in the Watchung Reservation. Additional free parking is available in the Loop playground area, located a short walk away on the other side of the Trailside Center. Visitors are advised to bring a small wagon to convey their purchases. No pets are permitted at the Garden Fair.
The Spring Garden Fair is organized each year by the Rutgers Master Gardeners of Union County, an all-volunteer organization run by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County and supported in part by the Freeholder Board. Anyone with an interest in gardening and volunteer service can become a Master Gardener. No previous education or training in horticulture is required. Among the Master Gardeners many volunteer services are the free Garden Helpline (908-654-9852) where residents can receive gardening advice, horticulture programs for people with special needs, and a community gardening speakers' bureau.
The group’s work in the Union County Demonstration Garden has yielded thousands of pounds of fresh produce for local food pantries and many donations of cut flowers to cancer centers along with other projects and programs.
For more information on the Master Gardeners program contact Judi Laganga at the Extension, 908-654-9854 (ext. 2), or visit online at ucnj.org/rce. The Extension offices are located in the Colleen Frasier county services building, 300 North Avenue East in Westfield. More information on the Rutgers Master Gardeners of Union County is available at mastergardeners-uc.org.
For quick links to all Union County programs related to gardening, sustainability and nature conservation visit The Green Connection, ucnj.org/green-connection.
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