A Very Good Read

Hello Everybody,

As you probably know, I recently underwent successful brain surgery, and I am now snug at home resting and recuperating.Today is the first day I have been able to read again, and it turns out that the very first article I happened upon, moved me to tears. It’s a wonderful article by Jeff Webber in today’s Courier News. I thought I would share it with you.

Many thanks for all your good wishes and prayers!

Warm regards,


Here is the link to the online article, which includes a photo. http://www.mycentraljersey.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2011102030303

or you can read Jeff’s story below.

Thank you, Central Jersey’s home and garden communities

Over the past 2 1/2 years as the home and garden beat writer for the Courier News and the Home News Tribune, I have had the privilege of collaborating with countless local master gardeners, landscapers, flower enthusiasts, home builders and others whose jobs are associated with the genres.

Without their help, cooperation and general contagious enthusiasm, many of the stories you read every Thursday would not have materialized.

And since this is my final Home Grown column before I move on to another career, I would like to thank as many of them as possible.

First and foremost, I owe a sincere debt of gratitude to Nick Polanin, the agriculture and resource management agent for Rutgers’ New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension of Somerset County.

Polanin has partnered with me from the beginning to bring you the popular The Gardener State column, which every week – without fail, even after heavy snowstorms – has been chock full of nuggets about the world of gardening, upcoming local garden-related events and some of the most picturesque and interesting places to visit in Central Jersey and beyond.

Without Polanin’s expertise, insight and ability to paint a compelling visual picture in his writing, my knowledge of gardening would be far less than it is today, and I certainly would have far less of an appreciation for the many outdoor activities taking place all over the region.

So thank you, Nick, for all that you have done.

Second, I would like the many people for whom Polanin and his colleagues so frequently go out on a limb – the hundreds of master gardeners who so selflessly help enrich the lives of amateur horticulturists across the state – to take a bow.

But here in Central Jersey – which has vibrant master gardener programs in Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon and Union counties – there is one in particular who merits special recognition.Laura DePrado, one of the pre-eminent master gardeners in Somerset and Hunterdon counties, has done more volunteer garden work than just about anyone I know. Her efforts with the multiphase garden project at the Anderson House in Whitehouse Station, the master gardener helpline, the annual 4-H Fair and several Somerset County community gardens have been masterful – pun intended.

Third, I want to tip my cap to the folks at Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity, who pump out homes in Bridgewater for those with financial difficulty at a rate akin to how my heart beats after shoveling 16 inches of wet snow.

I remember doing a story on one of the Bridgewater builds and was impressed – overjoyed, even – to see how happy everyone was to be doing something for someone they didn’t even really know. Such philanthropy is hard to come by these days, especially in challenging economic times.

Fourth, I would be remiss if I didn’t call attention to the many public relations people who have pitched me story ideas; aided me with the collection of photos, quotes and information needed to put those ideas into writing; and generally made my job a whole lot easier and more enjoyable than it would have been had I been flying solo in such ventures.

These people often don’t get thank-yous of any kind – their work often being credited to someone else. I’m here right now to offer each and every one of you, even though I can’t call you out by name, a hearty THANK YOU for every bit of material you have provided me over the years.

And finally, I must thank YOU, the readers, for faithfully turning to page B1 every Thursday to read my stories and columns. I have received a lot of positive feedback during my time on the beat, and that has been much appreciated.

I wish all of you the best as you seek to remodel your homes, plant your gardens or do whatever it is you do in life. Be well!

Laura DePrado


email: laura@finaltouchplantscaping.com

Posted in News