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New Horticultural Therapy Program for VA Lyons and East Orange Campuses

Posted by on Sep 25, 2017 in Events, MG Chronicles, Programs

Hello Master Gardeners,

My colleagues Joel Flagler (Bergen County)  and Jan Zientek (Essex County)  have received a grant to establish two horticultural therapy programs at the Veterans Administration campuses in East Orange and Lyons, NJ.  They are seeking certified volunteer Master Gardeners to assist with the program under the direct supervision of a certified Horticultural Therapist. (HT)

Here are some details about the program:

This is a call for Certified Rutgers Master Gardeners interested in supporting a horticultural therapy program at the Veterans Administration campuses in East Orange and Lyons, NJ.  Master Gardeners are being recruited from counties nearest these two campuses.  The VA has secured a grant to fund Horticultural Therapy for spinal cord/brain trauma patients and mental health patients (two separate programs).  They will be contracting with two HT graduates of Rutgers-SEBS to deliver the program, as well as having Rutgers-SEBS HT undergraduate interns assist them. RMG volunteers are being sought to help deliver the program (to work side-by-side with veterans and these HT professionals and assist as needed).  This is a great opportunity for RMGs to participate in an actual HT program.

The VA has organized an orientation for RMGs interested in participating in this program, which will be held on September 28, from 2pm to 4pm, at the VA Hospital in East Orange, 3rd Floor Auditorium.  We are working on hopefully having a similar training in Lyons, but for now there is only the one in East Orange.  We are hoping to develop a core of 15-20 volunteers to support this long-term project (it is a research grant where the effectiveness of HT for neurological patients is being measured).

As stated above, there will be volunteer HT opportunities at the VA’s Lyons campus as well.  There is a vocational-type program being organized, based in the Lyons atrium, where veterans are being trained to pursue jobs in interior plant care.

To RSVP and register for the orientation, please send an email with your name, address, phone number, and county RMG program affiliation to Jan Zientek at

If you cannot attend the Sept 28 training, but are interested in working with this project, please contact Jan Zientek to let him know of your interest.



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MG Class and Greenhouse Opening Postponed

Posted by on Mar 13, 2017 in Events, MG Chronicles

Hello Master Gardeners,

Due to the impending snow storm, MG class has been cancelled for Tuesday March 14.  We will not be opening up the greenhouse Tuesday March 14.  Once the road to greenhouse has been plowed and we can get in to shovel the sidewalks, we will announce the new date for opening the greenhouse.


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RCE Community Gardening Conference March 25 and County Grant Program

Posted by on Feb 16, 2017 in Events, MG Chronicles

Hello Master Gardeners,

RCE of Union County is having its 5th Annual “Get Your Vegetable Garden Growing: Home-School-Community” on Saturday, March 25, 2017 at the Rutgers School of Health Related Professions Building on the Union County Vo-Tech Campus in Scotch Plains.  4 CEU’s are being offered for this conference.

Here is the program, including registration information:

Community Gardening Brochure 2017

Please share the brochure with family, friends or colleagues who are interested in community gardening!  Hope to see you at the conference!

If you are involved with a non-profit organization or school that is interested in starting or currently has a community garden, did you know that the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is offering community garden grants?  For more information please visit  Grant applications are available at and are due Tuesday, March 7, 2017.


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Children’s camp visit-Monday, July 6 at 10am-volunteers needed

Posted by on Jul 2, 2015 in Committees & Projects, Events, The Gardens

Our first Trailside camp visit was on June 23 and feedback from Trailside Management was very positive and we all enjoyed participating- and learning. We look forward to our next session on July 6th from 10-11:30.  The theme will be the Green Team and Madeline and Michelle will be leading two exciting sessions for 5th and 6th graders- Planning a Watershed and Messy Town.  So far the following have signed up to volunteer: Laurie, Kenny, Ann C., Debbie. If you plan to attend on the 6th or I inadvertently missed you, please let me know.  Also, contact me with any questions.  The Art of Nature will be on Thursday, July 9th from 10-11:30.  Thanks again to everyone.  Laurie Westra – or 908-272-4091

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December General Membership Meeting and HAPPY HOLIDAYS PARTY

Posted by on Dec 2, 2014 in Events, MG Chronicles, News and Events, Newsletters and Bulletins

Tuesday, December 9, 7:00 P.M.

at the

Westfield Presbyterian Church,

140 Mountain Avenue Westfield.

   All Master Gardeners and guests are cordially invited.

A donation of an unwrapped gift for a child would be appreciated.

Come and meet the members of the “New Master Gardener Class” and renew old acquaintances. The current class traditionally hosts and organizes this event and requests that you donate a door prize valued under $10. If you would like to participate in the door prize raffle, you must bring a door prize gift.

Master Gardeners, please bring your favorite entrée or appetizer. Current class members should bring their favorite side dish or dessert. Please put your name of the bottom of your serving dish and serving utensil. Sandwiches will be provided by the Executive Board. Abundance and variety of food depend upon each Master Gardener’s contribution to our Holiday Party table, so bring something yummy and let’s party!

Please RSVP if you are coming, preferably by email, to Judi Laganga at by Friday, December 6, or leave a message on her voice-mail at (908) 654-9854, option 2.


Every year at the holiday party, we collect toys to donate to Saint Joseph’s Crisis Center in Elizabeth, a non-sectarian group that helps the poor and homeless of Union County.   Gifts to needy children help to make their Holidays happier. In difficult economic times, toys donated by Master Gardeners may be all some children will receive, so please remember to bring your unwrapped toys to the Holiday Party. (No toy weapons.)   If you can’t make the party, please drop the toys off at the office in Westfield by Tuesday, December 9.


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Sat, Dec 6th-Help carry the Trees volunteer event

Posted by on Nov 20, 2014 in Events, MG Chronicles, News and Events

Attn:  New MG Class and all Master Gardeners – You are invited to participate in our 8th Annual “Help Carry the  Trees” Party on Saturday, December 6, 2014, 8:00-10:30 a.m., at the Westfield Y’s Men’s Club Association’s Annual Holiday Tree and Wreath Sale, corner of Elm and Walnut streets in Westfield, opposite the Stop & Shop supermarket. There is a parking lot located on Walnut Street, behind the trailer.

Details:  Earn hours, give back to the community, and have fun helping the Westfield Y’s Men’s Club unload a shipment of Christmas trees for their Annual Holiday Tree and Wreath Sale.  The sale is WYMCA’s primary fundraiser. All profits go to local youth organizations and community service groups.  These include our Master Gardeners, to whom WYMCA has generously donated to our organization for 8 years. We have received a total of $8,500 in grants from the Y’s Men, i.e., $1,000 for 7 years, and $1,500 in 2008.  In return, the Y’s Men ask the MGs and all aided groups to donate some time and muscle at their Annual Sale. Please come out and help for a couple of hours.

Note: Typically, 2 or 3 people carry each tree the short distance from truck to tree lot.  Have a bad back?  Not to worry.  We need your moral support anyway, so please come out to cheer us on — or just to go shopping for your tree, wreath or tree stand.

Thanks, everyone.

T.J. Karns, Chair of Grants and Publicity Committees

Please contact TJ Karns to let her know you are coming at 908-964-3654 or

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The Biggest Homegrown Tomato & Zucchini Contest for Master Gardeners – ending soon!

Posted by on Aug 31, 2014 in Committees & Projects, Demo Gardens, Events, Programs, The Gardens

All Master Gardeners are invited to enter their largest tomatoes and zucchini from their home garden into our “Home-grown” Vegetable contest. The contest ends this Thursday, Sept 4th so please come to the Demo Garden with your prized vegetables!

The first place winners will be announced at the September “Pin Party” and will receive a prize (and bragging rights.)

Rules: The vegetable categories are heaviest tomato and heaviest zucchini.

Master Gardeners must grow the vegetables they enter into the contest.

Bring your vegetables to the Demonstration Garden on Thursdays, between 10:30am and 11:00am to have them weighed and logged by members of the Sharing Garden Committee.

We are open every Tuesday and Thursday at 9am until 12pm and can use help in the Sharing Garden harvesting vegetables, and general weeding and clean up.

Thank you for keeping our garden beautiful

Joanne Krueger


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New Volunteer Opportunity – The Rahway Historical Society Colonial Garden

Posted by on Jul 17, 2014 in Committees & Projects, Events

The Rahway Historical Society (RHS) flower garden is in need of renovation. This project is in the early stages. Work is planned to begin in September. 

 This is a great way to earn volunteer hours for MG-ers . The local Rahway Garden Club volunteers have agreed to work together with MG’ers to plant and maintain the garden bed. The project has been approved for MG volunteer hours.

 We are looking for some volunteers to help re-establish the old plot as well and MG’ers with knowledge of colonial gardens and native plants. For more information on this project or to volunteer contact RHS chair-person James Keane. or call 732-382-9727

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