Perennials, annuals, small trees and shrubs available

FREEHOLD, NJ  – The Master Gardeners of Monmouth County will hold its fifth annual plant sale from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday, May 14 and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 15 at the Monmouth County Agriculture Building at 4000 Kozloski Rd.

The plant sale will include perennials, annuals, flowering trees and shrubs, hanging baskets and tropical plants. The selection of perennials will include deer-resistant and drought-tolerant varieties.  The 2010 sale will also feature an expanded offering of vegetables and herbs that will include the Ramapo and Moreton Hybrid tomatoes and other heirloom tomato varieties.

“Much of what you need for springtime planting will be available at the Master Gardener sale,” Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry said. “The plant sale is excellent, but the best part of the event is the advice that the Master Gardeners will share with you. If you have a troublesome spot in your home garden, they can suggest ways to improve the soil and locate the right plant to make the area bloom!”

Free workshops on organic and container gardening and information about composting will be available on May 15. Monmouth County’s Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer your gardening questions both days.

Plants grown by Master Gardeners will also be offered for sale, along with gardening books and houseplants. This annual fundraiser supports the organization and its community outreach projects.

The plant sale will be held rain or shine and all sales are cash and carry. For information, call the Monmouth County office of the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service at 732-303-7614.

The gardens outside the county’s Agricultural Building will be open for visitation. You can take a look at a rain garden, the Junior Master Gardener teaching garden and the “Plant a Row for the Hungry” vegetable garden, where harvested produce is donated to Open Door Food Pantry in Freehold.

“As our local growing season gets underway, it’s time for homeowners to assess damage done by the excessive snow, ice and wind of this past winter,” county Agricultural Agent Rich Obal said. “Landscapes and plantings, in particular, may have suffered. Some plantings may be repaired by simple pruning, but others may have to be dug out and replaced. This sale is the perfect opportunity to enhance your landscape and help the Master Gardeners by purchasing plants at great prices.”

Master Gardeners are experts in all things related to home gardening in Monmouth County. After completing classroom and hands-on training, Master Gardeners share their knowledge with others by conducting garden lectures, demonstrations, school and community gardening projects, telephone diagnostic service for callers and research.

The Master Gardener program, conducted throughout the United States and Canada, is a two-part educational effort in which avid gardeners are provided many hours of intense home horticulture training. In return, they “pay back” local university extension agents through volunteerism.

In New Jersey, the program is a cooperative effort of Rutgers University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the county Boards of Chosen Freeholders. Monmouth County’s program involves the county office of Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Brookdale Community College and the county Park System.