Home » Millbrook » Master Gardener plant sale celebrates 30th anniversary

From left, Heather Brenner, Joyce Tomaselli and Philomena Kiernan hold some of the colorful plants that were on sale on Friday, May 19, and Saturday, May 20, at the Master Gardeners plant sale at the County Home & Garden Center in Millbrook. Photo by Judith O’Hara Balfe

Master Gardener plant sale celebrates 30th anniversary

MILLBROOK —  The Master Gardener plant sale at the Dutchess County Farm & Home Center, Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County (CCE), was held on Friday, May 19, and Saturday, May 20.

This was the 30th year of the sale, which has become a place where people not only buy plants, but share information, growing tips and gardening stories. They also talk about perennials bought years ago that are still thriving, and brag about the colors and heights of their plants  and how they have propagated.

The sale was rain or shine, and there was traffic congestion when it opened at 10 a.m. on Friday; the heavy flow of customers lasted until closing time at 4 p.m.

According to Joyce Tomaselli, community horticulture resource educator at CCE, the Master Gardeners grew about 11,000 plants, many from plugs. Vegetables were grown from seeds. Items remaining after the sale are given to churches or community gardens.

The Master Gardeners are all volunteers, and work with the county CCE office to provide information and  answer questions about gardening and soil.

They also will test soil when dropped off at the Home and Garden Center. They can identify plant and insect samples, diagnose plant samples and perform soil pH testing in their horticulture diagnostic lab.

Dutchess County was the first county in New York state to train volunteers in the Master Gardeners program. There are 1,100 of them in New York state, 80 in Dutchess County.

All funding for CCE’s community horticulture program was cut by the county in 2011, so the program depends on the success of the plant sale to fund its educational programming. For questions about the program or delivering samples for diagnosis, call 845-677-8223 ext. 115.

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