Posted by: Fredda Sacharow | April 27, 2013

Lots of greenery, abundant sunshine

Volunteer and Cook alum Richard Porter carries plants available for sale.

Volunteer and Cook alum Richard Porter carries plants available for sale.

Good morning, Rutgers Day visitors and fans!

The sun officially rose this morning at 6:06, but insiders know that the real start of Rutgers Day is when the first flats of tomatoes, basil and peppers appear at the Master Gardener Plant sale on the Cook Campus.

It’s the worst-kept secret in the state: Both the novice and the expert can stop here to get their questions answered by members of the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County, who run the annual sale.

Volunteer Richard Porter, a 1984 Cook College alum, is busy setting out the fig tree cuttings, coleus and succulents that have proven to be best-sellers at Rutgers Days past.  He’s worked the plant sale since its inception, noting that the monies raised help support the Rutgers Floriculture and Teaching Greenhouse just behind where the plant sale is held.

Later today, that greenhouse will be filled with avid gardeners on specialized tours – where they’ll have a chance to learn about horticultural therapy, living walls and edible versus poisonous plants, says Nicki Graf, greenhouse manager.

“The lectures about carnivorous plants and orchids are particularly popular,” she notes.

Who doesn’t love a Venus flytrap?

Graf and her staff start preparing for Rutgers Day way back at Thanksgiving, taking the first of the fig tree cuttings that will ultimately wind up in the gardens and back yards of today’s sale goers.

There are hundreds of plants waiting to be taken home. Porter and Graf are saving one for you. Hurry over.


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