CONTACT: Sebastian D’Elia, (908) 527-4419


Annual event includes free expert advice, children’s activities.

garden fair
Peanut enjoyed sharing a ride with plants at last year’s Union County Spring Garden Fair and Plant Sale. The event will be held this year on Sunday, May 18, rain or shine, from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. by the Trailside Nature and Science Center in the Watchung Reservation.  More information is available at

Elizabeth -- The 19th annual Union County Spring Garden Fair and Plant Sale will be held on Sunday, May 18, rain or shine, from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. by the Trailside Nature and Science Center in the Watchung Reservation. The fair is a project of the Rutgers Master Gardeners of Union County in cooperation with the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

“The Spring Garden Fair and Plant Sale is a wonderful resource for learning, sharing, and enjoying the natural bounty of our community,” said Freeholder Chairman Angel G. Estrada. “Union County is fortunate to have the Master Gardener volunteers enrich our lives.”

The Spring Garden Fair features annuals and perennials for sale, many raised by Master Gardener volunteers.

Among the offerings is a large selection of tomatoes suitable for container gardening, including Ramapo Tomato seedlings. The Ramapo is an heirloom variety legendary for its firm, fragrant flesh.

Other highlights include:

  • Garden crafts for sale, handmade by the Master Gardeners.
  • Free activities for children.
  • “The Cupcake Café” featuring home-baked goods for sale.
  • Free clinic for gardening problems.
  • Free tours of the Demonstration Garden.
  • Gently used gardening books and magazines for sale.
  • Soil test kits for sale. The $15 price includes a Rutgers laboratory evaluation with recommendations.

“Last year, more than one thousand people attended the fair,” said Joanne Krueger, Master Gardener and Sale Committee Chair. “Many came prepared with their own little red wagons for hauling plants.”

Proceeds from the Garden Fair benefit the Master Gardener programs, including horticultural scholarships for students of Union County College and Vo-Tech high school.

The Master Gardeners are specially trained volunteers who work with the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County to deliver horticulture programs and information to the general public.

Any Union County resident can apply to become a Master Gardener. The next training period starts in fall 2008.  To apply, call 908-654-9854, x2240. Applications are also available at the Fair.

The Master Gardeners also host a free gardening helpline at 908-654-9852, or by email at They conduct school visits and horticultural therapy sessions, and tend the Demonstration Garden at Trailside. Vegetables and cut flowers from the garden are donated to food banks and hospitals.

Free parking for the fair is located at the corner of New Providence Road and Coles Avenue in Mountainside.  For maps and directions, visit

More information about the Master Gardener programs is available at