Lake Ronkonkoma Beach

Recently, there was a cleanup/ beautification happening at Lake Ronkonkoma Beach. We were so excited to be a part of another project like this through Keep Islip Clean. There was many volunteers from the Lake Ronkonkoma Beautification Group and Nature’s Bounty. All the before pictures were taken on April 1st, and all the afters were taken on April 18th. From all the wind, there was so much sand blown up around the garden. A big thank you to all the volunteers that removed all the sand by hand. The volunteers that participated at this cleanup/ beautification also tended to another memorial garden area, and cleaned the rest of the Lake Ronkonkoma Beach! All of the flowers for this project came from Stables Nursery in North Babylon. Thanks Ken! 

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2018 Nassau County Master Gardener Application

Applications are now being accepted for the 2018 Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County Master Gardener Program.

The Master Gardener program is a volunteer program  developed by the Cooperative Extension System. Volunteer involvement is critical to the program as Master Gardeners serve an important role by interacting with and educating the community, maintaining the demonstration gardens at East Meadow Farm and providing accurate research and science based horticultural information throughout Nassau County.

The term “Master Gardener” has become synonymous with a knowledgeable individual, provided with  in-depth horticultural training, working to enhance their community and share their knowledge with others. To prepare Master Gardeners for their role in the community, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County provides an in-depth training program. Staff from Cornell Cooperative Extension, Cornell University faculty and local horticulturists serve as the training team for the program.  The cost of the course is $350.00 plus $70 for materials, includes trips, CCE-NC membership & training fees. The non-refundable fee is to be paid upon notification of acceptance with an additional $125 deposit, refunded upon completion of 150 hours of volunteer service.  Application deadline is February 28, 2018.  Scholarships are available, please contact us for details.   Contact us at: Horticulture Center, Demonstration and  Community Gardens at East Meadow Farm 832 Merrick Avenue East Meadow, NY 11554 (516)565-5265 Ext. 14.

To access the application and for full details, visit

Thank you to mjigarden for the original information and email. You can read more here.

Sign Up For Spring Gardening School 2017!

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County will be holding the 35th Annual Spring Gardening School on April 22nd, 2017! It will be held at Longwood Senior High School in Middle Island from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM. This event is a popular was to kick-off the new gardening season; Providing up to date information in all areas of horticulture. Classes are taught by Master Gardener Volunteers and Extension Educators! This year we will have a keynote speaker, her name is Polly Weigand and she is Executive Director of the Long Island Native Plant Initiative. Three classes of your choice are also available for every level of gardener (ranging from beginner to advanced.) Class topics include Low-water gardening, Gardening in deer country, Designing drip irrigation, Creating a rain garden, Organic landscape maintenance, and many more! The fee is $65 per person; early bird registration is $60 before March 1st. Included in your fee are free soil pH testing, plant diagnostic clinic, plant sales from some of the finest nurseries, continental breakfast, delicious boxed lunch, Long Island Gardening Calendar, raffle prizes and door prizes.
Register early, because classes fill quickly! Registration is mandatory; there are no walk-ins. A full listing of classes can be found on the registration form for download here! 

Hope to see you there! 

Master Gardener Events

The Master Gardener Newsletter is a great service to be subscribed to. It let’s us know about future events and classes being held by and for Master Gardeners on Long Island! The Master Gardeners will be holding a Spring Gardening School on April 22, 2017 for Earth Day. They are in need of instructors for workshops in the following topics:

  • Landscape Alternatives to Lawns
  • Fairy Gardens
  • Gardening for the Birds
  • Accessible Gardens: Low-Maintenance Techniques for Everyone
  • Designing Drought- Tolerant Landscapes
  • Engaging Children in the Garden
  • Growing Food in the Winter

This is the 2017 SGS Instructor’s Workshop Description Form to fill out and submit toRobin Simmen no later then November 16. This will give CCE Suffolk enough time to create the registration brochure and send it to all instructors for proofreading before they publish it in January. The workshop description form will be mailed with individual evaluations to all the people who taught in 2016. However, if they want to get ahead on submitting workshop ideas for 2017, they can download the form and get started! They ask if you haven’t taught before, they need you and your ideas! Consider offering a workshop next April at Spring Gardening School. The Master Gardeners also came up with a list of committee chairs and co-chairs (if there is no name listed, they need someone (maybe you!) to step forward and help organize that area.) The listed chair people will be looking for and collecting the names of committee members, so please email them directly to join these committees.

  • Breakfast and lunch monitors – Carol Tvelia,
  • Information Packets – ?
  • Indoor/Outdoor signs and maps – Diane Herold,
  • On-Site Check-In – Barbara Renner,
  • Digital Media Help – Kathleen Cleary,
  • Raffle Prize Donations – ?
  • Information/Big Raffle Prize Sales – ?
  • Spring Gift Basket Sales – ?
  • Plant Sale – Denise Zizzo, and Brian Smith,
  • Classroom Assistants/Soil Testing – Mary Howe,
  • Door Prizes – Barbara Renner,
  • Transporting Raffles to School Location – ?

A great way to volunteer your time as a Master Gardener is to help make Spring Gardening School a success! The next meeting to plan is scheduled for Thursday, November 3rd at 1:00PM at Griffing Avenue. They ask you to please RSVP to

2017 Master Gardener Volunteer Training Course

Applications for the 2017 MG Volunteer Training Course are available online on the Master Gardener Volunteer page of their website at The next training course for new MG Volunteers will be held in 2017, beginning February 1 and ending June 28. Weekly Wednesday evening lectures will be held 5:30-8:30 p.m. at CCE Suffolk, 423 Griffing Avenue in Riverhead. Starting April 1, Saturday morning classes will also be held 9:00 a.m.-noon in the field (weather permitting) every other week at various locations from Amityville to Riverhead until the course ends June 28. The cost of the course remains $375 with an additional $125 deposit, refunded upon completion of 125 hours of volunteer service. The deadline to apply for the 30 seats available is October 31, 2016.

Agriculture, Food & Environmental Systems In-Service Conference at Cornell in Ithaca Open to MG Volunteers

Registration for the 2016 Cornell Cooperative Extension conference is now open! The deadline to register is October 7. You can complete a registration form by visiting the Ag In-Service website at and clicking on the “Registration” tab. This conference is open to all CCE educators, volunteers, and community partners. Note that in addition to horticulture, there are other subject tracks such as invasive species, environment and natural resources, etc. You can register for any track in any given session.


Master Gardener Volunteers Needed 

Please contact to volunteer for any of these projects:


The Seniors Center in Aquebogue at 60 Shade Tree Lane

would like MG Volunteer assistance to plant an herb and/or vegetable garden with hopes that the kitchen staff could use plants from the garden to prepare lunch for senior citizens. Sponsored by the Riverhead Recreation Department, this Senior Center would like it to become an intergenerational garden where classes on using culinary, medicinal, or fragrance herbs could be scheduled for the public at large.
The Riverhead Free Library is looking for assistance in redesigning and replanting the gardens on their grounds. Your expertise will be recognized by plaques confirming your hard work. Please stop by and take a look at the potentially beautiful area surrounding the building. The library is looking for mostly native plants and easy care growth that will invite patrons to tour the presentations.
Long Island Maritime Museum (LIMM) depends on a small group of MGVs to maintain its modest-sized main garden, Long Island native plant/butterfly garden, and Bayman’s Cottage garden. They could use some additional help with weeding, trimming, and watering. LIMM runs a summer camp program for K-6, has regular visitors and large gatherings such as the Seafood, Pirate, and Kite Festivals. If you’re in the West Sayville area and can devote an hour or so a week, they would love to have you join them.

Meadowcroft, the gardens of the John Ellis Roosevelt estate supported by the Bayport Heritage Association on Middle Road near the Sayville-Bayport border, seeks MG Volunteers to work once a week on Friday mornings for a couple of hours, from June to September. Meadowcroft consists of a rose garden, perennial garden,annual garden, herb garden, and vegetable garden. Bring gardening gloves, bucket for compost additions, kneeling pad, any hand garden tools you may have, and a desire to dig in. They will supply herb flavored water (bring a drinking vessel), pleasant conversation, and MGV camaraderie.

Mercy Haven’s Growing Together Community Garden was created in 2012 and has harvested thousands of pounds of fresh produce that goes directly to its residents, garden members, and  food pantries. The Garden is located in Brentwood, Long Island, behind the Mercy Enrichment House, a central gathering space for affiliates of Mercy Haven, a nonprofit agency that provides housing and services to Long Islanders who are homeless, living with mental illness, or living in poverty. Mercy Haven is always looking for volunteers who can not only gain the benefits of the harvested produce, but also the benefits of working together and creating a healthier community.

Maureen’s Haven and ADD (Aid to the Developmentally Disabled) in Riverhead have joined forces to create a new community garden downtown on Lincoln Avenue. This new open green space benefits group home residents of ADD and participants of Maureen’s Haven Homeless Outreach, and provides common ground for growing plants that feed, heal, and offer aesthetic pleasure. The new community garden is a place where everyone in the community can garden for nourishment and pleasure. MG Volunteers are requested to assist with this exciting new green space in Riverhead.

The Mount Sinai Garden Club, which meets at the Heritage Park in Mount Sinai on the first Thursday of every month at 7:15 p.m., is looking for Master Gardeners to speak on the following subjects: composting, ticks,vegetable gardening, creating a plant maze, transplanting, rose care.

Bridge Gardens, the botanic garden in Bridgehampton, invites MG Volunteers to get involved in its weekly routines of weeding, watering, planting, harvesting, and pest management in its ornamental and vegetable gardens. Bridge Gardens can offer MG Volunteers experience with herbs, roses, annuals, perennials, and shrubs and trees, both native and exotic. The staff are flexible about work schedules. If you are interested, please feel free to contact Rick Bogusch, Bridge Gardens Manager, at 631-537-7440.

William Rall Elementary School in Lindenhurst received a grant to install a Tisch Garden, which has been planted, and is looking for MG Volunteers to help start a gardening club to teach young students about gardening.
The Education Garden at Bethel Hobbs Community Farm in Centereach grows flowers to attract pollinators and beneficial insects for the farm, and welcomes MG Volunteers who want to help with this effort. Fresh vegetables grown at the farm are donated to Long Island soup kitchens and food pantries.
The Farm at St. Peters, a beautiful hidden oasis behind St. Peters by the Sea Episcopal Church off Montauk Highway in Bayshore, is looking for volunteers to assist with bed preparation, planting, watering, weeding, and harvesting. This CSA serves 20-25 member families and could use some MG Volunteer assistance.
Long Island Harvest has many opportunities to help promote food security by creating school and community gardens, encouraging farmers to grow an extra row, doing field gleanings at the end of the growing season, and teaching people how to grow healthy food. Help is also needed to repair their greenhouses behind their warehouse in Hauppauge.
Thank you to CCE and Master Gardener Volunteer Newsletter for the original information.

Great Garden Awards 2016

Great Garden Awards were just awarded! Volunteer Gardeners plant our Project Bloom seedlings in gardens around Islip. This year, we honored six Project Bloom garden groups with Great Garden Award signs and plants. You can click on their names to see each garden! The groups which were recognized at the last Keep Islip Clean meeting were:

Great Garden Award – Slocum Elementary

Justina Rote of Edith L. Slocum Elementary School received a Great Garden Award from Project Bloom for two garden courtyards and an accompanying educational program at the school. It is so lovely seeing gardening being implemented into after school activities. It gives children something constructive to do while being outside, and it’s fun! There was even homemade steeping stone that the children made, in the underbrush. How cute! 

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KIC Award

Bob and I were honored at last night’s Keep Islip Clean (KIC) meeting with a nice certificate of appreciation for our efforts with Project Bloom


Project Bloom Garden Party

We recently had a garden party at Project Bloom to commemorate the past growing season! We invited everyone who was a part of Project Bloom to come and enjoy food, friends, crafts and the garden! It was a great time and we hope to do it again in the future! One of the crafts was to paint a canvas bag with stamps and paint brushes and make a butterfly garden! 

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Project Bloom Update 8/9/16

Here’s what is growing in the children’s garden at Project Bloom right now! We have Sugar Baby Watermelons, Birdhouse Gourds, Pumpkins and Gallardia. We have also set up a tic-tac-toe board that we made. The game board is made from an old tree stump, and the cute game pieces are painted rocks. The rocks are painted to look like lady bugs and turtles! 

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Project Bloom Update 7/5/16

Everything is looking great at our Project Bloom garden at Brookwood Hall. Flowers are blooming everywhere and the vegetable gardens are full of produce. Here’s what’s growing in the Project Bloom Gardens right now! What’s growing includes Strawberries, Brazzle Berries, Basil, Parsley, Rosemary, Shallots, Dill, Nasturtium, Sage, Lavender, Mint, Thyme, Oregano, Chives, Pumpkins, Sugar Baby Watermelons, Sunflowers, Peas, Tomatoes, Beans, Coreopsis, Zinnias, Marigolds, Cosmos, Oakleaf Hydrangea, Cannas, Hosta, Double Pleat Columbine, Dianthus, Delphinium, Dwarf Iris and Coneflower. 

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KPMG Volunteers

KPMG Accounting celebrated their 50th anniversary by donating time to our Project Bloom garden. It was a gorgeous day out, and they did a tremendous amount of work. We really appreciate their efforts! They dug out a new herb garden for us, added compost and brick edge to the newly created garden, created a new pumpkin patch by cutting into the old grass, pulled weeds, and planted many new seeds! 

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