Two Township Residents Among Latest Master Gardener Graduates

MG Publicity 2016 Graduates Photo

The 2016 Rutgers Master Gardeners of Somerset County Class: Front Row: Bisques Abbasi, Belle Mead; Linda Bell, Glenn Gardner; Janet Ashnault, Far Hills; Jodie Freeland, Somerville; Karen Sueper, Branchburg; Zixing Wang, Raritan, and Barbara Hermans, Branchburg. Rear: Thomas Polka, Somerset; Peter Busch, Stewartsville; Joseph Doyle, Far Hills; Daina Gulbis, Peacock; Donna Groomes, Somerset; Mathew Roberts, Warren; Thomas Scroth and Diane Shannon Oldwick, and Allison Weideman Union. Photo: Nick Polanin.

Two Somerset residents are among the 19 newest members of Rutgers Master Gardeners of Somerset County.

Thomas Polka and Donna Groomes were among those participating in the graduation ceremony at the NJAES Rutgers Cooperative Extension Office on Milltown Road in Bridgewater.

Rutgers Master Gardeners are trained volunteers who assist Rutgers Cooperative Extension in its mission to deliver horticulture programs and information to Somerset County residents, according to a press release about the graduation. Programs include a phone-in/walk-in Helpline to answer garden questions, primers for establishing and maintaining community and individual gardens, a Seeds to Salad course for elementary schools and programs for special needs organizations.

The Rutgers Master Gardeners receive in-depth, hands-on training in horticulture from Rutgers faculty and professional staff, according to the release. Some topics include plant biology, propagation, soil science, disease and pest identification and control, and gardening and environmental principles.

Successful graduates of the extensive curriculum become Certified Master Gardeners after they complete their required volunteer service hours.

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