Public Info

30th Annual Union County Spring Garden Fair and Plant Sale, May 19

Union County, NJ — Gardening enthusiasts can stock up on plants, seedlings and other supplies — and shop for a cause, too — at the 30th annual Master Gardeners of Union County Spring Garden Fair and Plant Sale.  The Spring Garden Fair is known for a large selection of flowers, herbs, and vegetables including the popular Ramapo and Rutgers 250 tomatoes.

The event takes place on Sunday, May 19, from noon to 4:00 p.m., on the grounds of the Union County Demonstration Garden at the Trailside Nature and Science Center in the Watchung Reservation, 452 New Providence Road in Mountainside. All proceeds from sales at the Garden Fair go to support the many community service projects of Master Gardener volunteers, including donations of fresh produce to local food pantries, educational events for youth and adults, programs for people with special needs, and more.

“On behalf of the Freeholder Board, I would like to thank our Master Gardener volunteers for their many contributions to the quality of life in Union County,” said Freeholder Chair Bette Jane Kowlaski. “A visit to the Garden Fair is a fun, inspiring way to kick off the growing season while contributing to a good cause, too.”

Visitors are advised to bring a small wagon to convey their purchases. As always, admission to the Garden Fair is free, and parking is also free. Please note that credit cards are not accepted, and pets are not permitted at the Garden Fair.

Among the hundreds of plants and seedlings offered for sale, the Spring Garden Fair features deer resistant, drought tolerant and fragrant plants that thrive in Union County, including native species and many easy-to-grow plants for beginner gardeners.

Along with plants, baked goods, crafts, and gently used 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, Invasive Plants and Mosquito Control.
  • Information on joining the Rutgers Master Gardeners, Environmental Stewards and 4-H Master Tree Stewards.
  • Children’s activities (children must be accompanied by parent or guardian).
  • Garden clinic and Rutgers information fact sheets for troubleshooting garden problems.
  • Attendees can bring plant and insect samples for diagnosis.
  • Rutgers soil test kits are 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.

The Rutgers Master Gardeners of Union County is 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 earn Master Gardener certification by successfully completing a series of training classes offered locally. No previous education or training in horticulture is required.

For more information on the Master Gardeners program contact Tamisha Hopkins at the Extension, 908-654-9854 (ext. 2), or visit online at

The Extension offices are located in the Colleen Frasier building in the Union County Complex at 300 North Avenue East in Westfield.

Union County residents and visitors with an interest in preserving native plant species are also invited to attend the free “Good Plants and Bad Plants” seminar on May 18 at Trailside. A free brochure providing guidance on ornamental native species titled “Plant This, Not That” is also available for download, and a “Plant Swap” and native plant tour will take place in the Demonstration Garden on Thursday evening, June 6, from 5:30p.m. to 8:30 pm. 

For quick links to all Union County programs related to gardening, sustainability and nature conservation visit The Green Connection,

Directions to Trailside Nature & Science Center:


  1. Exit at River Road and follow it into Summit.
  2. Turn left at traffic light onto Morris Avenue at Schering Plough.
  3. Travel past Overlook Hospital, bear right just before the traffic light and turn immediately left at the next traffic light onto Baltusrol Road. (sign says to Rt. 22).
  4. At the top of the hill, turn right at the traffic light onto Summit Lane.
  5. At the wooded traffic circle, take the second right and proceed ½ mile to Trailside. Parking lot is on the right.


  1. Take Route 22 West past Springfield exits to Mountainside/New Providence Road exit.
  2. Turn right (just before the traffic light) and proceed up the hill.
  3. Take the 5th right onto Ackerman Avenue.
  4. At the top of the hill, turn right onto Coles Avenue. Trailside’s parking lot is about 1/4 mile on the left hand side.


  1. Take Route 22 East to exit marked Mountainside/New Providence Road.
  2. Take the jug-handle and turn left toward the traffic light.
  3. Cross over Route 22.
  4. Proceed as above from #3.


  1. Take Rt. 287 to Rt. 78 to exit 44 (New Providence/Berkeley Heights).
  2. Turn left at the traffic light onto Glenside Avenue.
  3. Go 1.2 miles and turn right into the Watchung Reservation (Rt. 645 – W.R Tracey Dr.).
  4. Proceed past Lake Surprise, uphill and straight past loop picnic area to the wooded traffic circle.
  5. At traffic circle take the first right and proceed ½ mile to Trailside. Parking lot is on the right.


  1. Take Rt. 78 West to exit 43 (New Providence/Berkeley Heights).
  2. Turn right at first light onto McMane Avenue.
  3. At T-intersection, turn left onto Glenside Avenue.
  4. Proceed as above from #3.


  1. Take NJ Turnpike to exit 11, Garden State Parkway.
  2. Take GSP to Exit 135.
  3. Stay to left on exit ramp and enter traffic circle. Proceed around circle, under parkway and straight onto Central Avenue.
  4. Follow Central Avenue into the center of Westfield.
  5. At T-intersection/traffic light, turn right onto Broad Street and make first left at the next traffic light onto Mountain Avenue.
  6. Follow Mountain Avenue to the traffic light in Mountainside.
  7. Turn Left onto New Providence Road.
  8. Go through the traffic light crossing over Route 22.
  9. Proceed uphill and take the 5th right onto Ackerman Avenue.
  10. At the top of the hill, turn right onto Coles Avenue. Trailside’s parking lot is about 1/4 mile on the left hand side.

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For all Union County programs and services visit, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email or use the online Contact Form.

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