CONTACT: Sebastian D’Elia, 908-527-4419
Tina Casey, 908-527-4346




Elizabeth, NJ – Certified gardening experts are available in person to provide free advice all summer long at the public Demonstration Garden behind Union County’s Trailside Museum in Mountainside.  The garden is open when Union County Master Gardener volunteers are present, generally on Tuesday and Thursday mornings after 10:00 a.m., and occasionally on weekends.

Master Gardener volunteers are certified and trained by the Rutgers Cooperative Extension, supported in part by the Union County Freeholder Board.  In recent years the Master Gardeners have focused on rain gardens, backyard composting, and other sustainable methods.

“Seeing is believing, so we encourage gardeners from all over Union County to come to the Demonstration Garden and get a first-hand look at the many different ways to beautify your property while using less water and fewer harsh chemicals,” said Freeholder Chairman
Alexander Mirabella.

The Demonstration Garden is divided into almost 20 distinct beds and gardens.  Visitors can view a wide range of low-impact gardening and yard care strategies in several of the sites:

  • The Integrated Pest Management Garden uses different techniques to keep noxious weeds and insects at bay with the least impact on the environment.
  • The Drought Tolerant Garden features unique, attractive plants that do not require frequent watering.
  • The Sharing Garden shows how raised beds can help contribute to increased yields in vegetable gardens.
  • The Native Plant Garden demonstrates the benefits of using low-maintenance native plants to help prevent soil erosion.
  • The Ground Cover Bed and the Perennial Bed provide attractive, low-maintenance alternatives to lawns and annuals beds.
  • The Workers Garden was established in 2004 as a conventional garden, and then transformed into a showcase for organic gardening.

“The mission of the Master Gardeners is to share their knowledge with the community, and the Freeholder Board is especially proud to support the work of these dedicated and hard working volunteers,” said Mirabella.

Along with providing on-site advice at the Demonstration Garden, the Master Gardener volunteers run a free helpline at 908- 654-9852.  Help is available by email at

Residents can also bring plant and insect samples to the Union County Extension office at 300 North Avenue East in Westfield, Monday - Thursday from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm and Fridays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.

To get more information about visiting the Demonstration Garden or to find out about becoming a certified Master Gardener, call 908-654-9854.