Rutgers Master Gardeners of Somerset County Landscape 28th Habitat for Humanity Home

MG Publicity Habitat photo 2016

Rutgers Master Gardeners of Somerset at a Habitat For Humanity home in the township: L-R Joanne Hashway-Rowe, Linda Bradway, Vera Minak-Bernero, Jody Friedman, Ed Robinson, Kathy Chapin, Donna Groomes, Jane Bernie.

Submitted by Veronica Guarraia.

On June 25, the Rutgers Master Gardeners of Somerset County, together with other volunteers from Community Baptist Church in Somerset, and Habitat for Humanity landscaped their 28th Habitat for Humanity home in the township.

Two distinct groups are involved in completing this task. This same process is what a typical home owner should use when designing their landscape.

First, a design team led by Ivanka Gucunski, with Jane Bernabe, Kathy Chapin, Jody Friedman, Tom Schroth, and Daina Gulbis walked the property, noting the hours of sun and shade, the surrounding landscaping that would impact a design (ie-tall trees) and the soil. They researched possible plant selections then matched plant requirements with the site’s characteristics and came up with the initial design. Ed Robinson, Linda Bradway, Jane Bernabe and Kathy Chapin modified the plan for the actual installation. The team’s goal was to install a landscape that was simple, attractive, easy to care for and well suited to the home’s environment.

Second, the planting day team of Master Gardeners led by Linda Bradway and including Jane Bernabe, Jody Friedman, Ed Robinson, Kathy Chapin, Vera Minak-Bernero, Joanne Hashway-Rowe and Donna Groomes, sited trees, shrubs and perennials that were purchased by team members and donated by Habitat to enhance this new home’s appearance. Ivanka donated many of the perennials from her garden that were installed in the landscape. Family members assisted with all the plantings to their new home.

Once the planting beds were laid out, soil amendments were added, the trees, shrubs and perennials were planted and the beds were edged, mulched and watered. According to Dint Moore, Habitat for Humanity Site Supervisor, “The Master Gardeners are such a fantastic partner for Habitat. The plantings add that final touch to the exterior of our homes. Their expertise and hard work make all the difference.”

The Rutgers Master Gardeners meet with the home owners to instruct them on the care of their plantings. Notebooks with landscape design and Rutgers fact sheets are presented to the new home owners. Giving them a thoughtfully designed landscape plan, along with the education in plant care, greatly enriches their pride in ownership.

Residents of Somerset County with questions about home gardening including plant selections for landscape installations can call the Master Gardener Helpline, Monday through Friday 9:00-12:00 from March through October at (908) 526-6293 press option four, or visit the office at 310 Milltown Road in Bridgewater.

The Rutgers Master Gardeners of Somerset County are currently accepting applications for Fall 2016. Classes will be held once a week on Tuesdays from 9:30am to 12:30pm from September 2016 to March 2017 at the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station Rutgers Cooperative Extension offices 310 Milltown Road in Bridgewater. Residents with an interest in gardening and a commitment to volunteer service can become a Rutgers Master Gardener. No previous education or training in horticulture is required. Call 908-526-6293 press option four or pick up an application packet at the Milltown Road office. The deadline to return the application is July 29th.

The Rutgers Master Gardener program is a volunteer organization of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. Rutgers Cooperative Extension is an equal opportunity program provider and employer. Contact your local Extension Office for information regarding special needs or accommodations. Contact the State Extension Director’s Office to with concerns related to discrimination, (848) 932-3584.

Veronica Guarraia is on the Marketing and Communication Team of the Rutgers Master Gardeners of Somerset County.

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