EDISON, NJ - The Rutgers Cooperative Extension is recognizing two Master Gardeners as recipients of this year’s Awards for Excellence at the 2014 Middlesex County Master Gardener Fall Conference. 

Master Gardener Linda Larson of Edison was recognized for her efforts in the Evergreen Garden of Memories and Susan Herzig of Old Bridge was recognized for her efforts in the Breast Cancer Awareness Garden.

“The Masters Gardeners work hard to make Middlesex County a more green and beautiful place,” said Freeholder Kenneth Armwood, Chair of the County’s Business Development and Education Committee. “These women went above and beyond with their work on these two beautiful tribute gardens.”

Linda Larson graduated with the Class of 2010 and has since logged over 280 hours of volunteer service.  Most of those hours have been spent establishing the Evergreen Garden of Memories in Davidson’s Mill Pond Park, a series of gardens representing the phases of life.

“Congratulations to this year’s winning volunteers,” said Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios. “I commend Linda Larson, Susan Herzig and the Rutgers Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardener program for all their hard work and for the earth-friendly and educational programs and gardening advice they provide.”

Since 1984, nearly 8,000 residents statewide have been trained through the Master Gardner program. In Middlesex County, there are almost 300 active Master Gardeners assisting RCE of Middlesex County staff and faculty in various capacities including dissemination of research-based information at community events, conducting workshops, answering garden inquiries on the “Helpline,” and management of various demonstration gardens.  

Master Gardeners are community volunteers trained in earth-friendly gardening and environmental principles. In Middlesex County, the training portion of the Master Gardener program lasts for one year. The program begins and ends in September starting with weekly classes from Fall to Spring, followed by hands-on activities in the Vegetable and Herb gardens during the growing season. Middlesex County is the only county that has both day and evening classes on Friday mornings and Thursday evenings.