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Butterfly Bash Gala Honors Rutgers NJAES Master Gardeners of Hunterdon & Somerset Counties

Press Release

Whitehouse Station, NJ
September 19, 2010
Butterfly Bash Gala Honors Rutgers NJAES
Master Gardeners of Hunterdon & Somerset Counties

Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experimental Station (NJAES) Cooperative Extension and the Master Gardeners of Somerset and Hunterdon Counties, including Team Leader, Laura DePrado, are being honored by Anderson House for the tremendous impact they have had on Anderson House and its residents. Anderson House, located in Whitehouse Station, is a residential program for New Jersey women recovering from alcoholism and drug addiction.

Under the leadership of Laura DePrado, distinguished Master Gardener, horticultural therapy student and owner of Final Touch Plantscaping, LLC in North Branch, a dedicated group of 17 Master Gardener volunteers executed two 15-week horticultural education programs with Anderson House residents. Phase I involved the design and creation of a courtyard meditation garden, and Phase II, which was completed this summer, produced a lush vegetable, flower and herb garden. The residents are learning how to use the fruits of their labor in cooking and floral design. The projects have not only beautified the grounds of Anderson House but have helped women heal from the ravages of the disease of addiction.

According to Anderson House Clinical Director, Helen McIntosh, “By nurturing the plants and coaxing them to grow, the women in turn nurture and grow the creative part of themselves that has been numbed through their addiction. Like seedlings, they are weak and vulnerable at first. But over time, they evolve into self-reliant, determined and healthy beings.” Resident Antoinette said, “I saw that there was something I was good at; that I could start something from nothing and create visual beauty. It’s helped me a lot and brought me peace. I now work at a local nursery and use everything the Master Gardeners taught me.” Many others have developed a similar passion that will likely grow into a rewarding hobby and lifelong love of gardening.

Anderson House will honor Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extensions’s program, Ms. DePrado and the Master Gardener volunteers at its Butterfly Bash Gala fundraiser on Friday evening October 22, 2010 at Roman Jewelers’ Renaissance Plaza in Flemington, NJ. Fabulous food will be provided by Market Roost CafĂ© and Catering and Metropolitan Seafood. G Force Band will provide the music to dance the night away in the Butterfly Garden. Tickets for the evening are $100 each. Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems is the Top Flight sponsor of the event.

The Mid-Atlantic Horticultural Therapy Network (MAHTN) featured the Master Gardener’s courtyard project at this year’s Philadelphia Flower Show. Local businesses including Final Touch Plantscaping, Hionis Greenhouses, The Fence Company and Hidden Acres Nursery generously donated products and services to make the projects possible.

Help salute the great work of our local Rutgers Master Gardeners by coming to the Butterfly Bash, making a donation to continue the horticultural programs at Anderson House, and/or sponsoring the event. For more information, go to, email or call Cheryl O’Sullivan at 908-534-3475.

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