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N.J. outdoor yoga: summer classes in Union County, many free 

Yoga in the Garden at Reeves-Reed Arboretum in Summit.Salute the sun with an outdoor yoga session on summer's first day tomorrow, and then take yoga practice right through summer with many free opportunities to stretch out at Union County parks and limber up to dance beneath the stars.


Summit: Summer outdoor yoga sessions across Union County start tomorrow with Yoga in the Garden at 7 p.m. at Reeves-Reed Arboretum in Summit. Celebrate the June 20 Summer Solstice with Sun Salutation Flow led by Claire Diab, the arboretum's yoga specialist and founder of The American Yoga Academy Studio in Summit. A $20 donation is requested upon arrival. Reeves-Reed Arboretum is located at 165 Hobart Ave., Summit. Visit for more information.


Cranford: Hanson Park Conservancy, 220 Walnut Ave., will be the setting for Yoga for Everyone sessions on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. There is a $10 suggested donation. Visit and or call (908) 709.-283. Check for community yoga sessions in other areas of the county, including Fanwood, Scotch Plains and Springfield.


Mountainside: Starting June 29, and on every Wednesday in July, those attending Union County's free summer concerts at Echo Lake Park will have an opportunity to enjoy free Yoga in the Park classes starting at 6:30 p.m. before each 7:30 p.m. concert. 


Clark: Yoga in the Park continues on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. from Aug. 3 through Aug. 24 at Oak Ridge Park. Each yoga session will be led by instructors from area yoga or fitness centers. See the full yoga and concert schedule at


Elizabeth: On July 19, kids can try out yoga at 7:30 p.m. at Warinaco Park. Yoga is among the fun fitness sessions planned before Tuesday night family movies running July 12, 19 and 26, and Aug. 9.  Each week there's a different fitness session, including cross-fit, Zumba and karate. See the full ftness and movie schedule at


Participants should bring a yoga mat and water for the yoga sessions, and a blanket of lawn chairs for the concerts.





N.J. plant sales offering Rutgers 250 tomato and other garden goods

(Photos courtesy Rutgers NJAES)‘Rutgers 250’ tomato, the ‘Rutgers Scarlet' strawberry and other Rutgers-developed plant varieties are generating a lot of excitement and anticipation among New Jersey gardeners. But where do you find the plants if you missed the opportunity to buy and start tomato seeds indoors?

From May 6 -  May 8 the 'Rutgers 250' tomato will be among hundreds of plant varieties offered at the Rutgers Gardens Spring Flower Fair May. On May 15, Union County residents who can wait a little longer won't have to travel to New Brunswick to get their hands on these coveted plants. Closer to home, 'Rutgers 250' tomato transplants will be among plants offered that day at the Union County Spring Garden Fair and Plant Sale at Trailside Nature Center in Mountainside. Details follow about each plant sale.

May 6 - May 8, 2016 - Rutgers Gardens Spring Flower Fair:

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Outdoor wedding ideas: DIY Chandelier made from hanging planter basket  

A hanging wire basket made for plants is beaded and transformed into an outdoor chandelier in this project from Jo-Ann fabric and crafts.An ordinary hanging planter becomes a gorgeous DIY chandelier with instructions from Jo-Ann fabrics and crafts. Beads are strung on lengths of wire to surround the basket and its hanging wires for an outdoor accessory that can add a little more sparkle using battery-operated candles, so no electric power is required.


While the idea is perfect for outdoor weddings, it is also a fun way to beautify any outdoor "room" for a warm-weather celebration or just to create a romantic setting with the benefit of several flameless candles with battery-powered light.   


All materials are available online, but head to the store at 1272 Route 27 in Colonia to see more options and get any project questions answered in advance.  

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Water garden: Growing hyacinth indoors for fragrance and winter blooms

My blue bowl vase filled with fragrant hyacinths from bulbs grown on water.Spring hyacinth bulbs that I started in water weeks ago are now in full bloom in my living room.

They are filling the place with fragrance. I'm not sure if I like the fragrance, but the total sensory experience on the second snowy day this winter certainly brings a nice mood lift. It also helps that this hyacinth variety, 'Purple Sensation' is my favorite lavender.

This is the second year that I have grown spring bulbs indoors in vases with only water and marbles or stones.

The marbles or stones are placed in a vase or bowl with water added to just cover them. The bulbs are then set on top so their bottoms don't get wet. In glass vases and bowls you can see the roots grow, which makes this a fun project to enjoy with kids. Eventually, the rooted bulbs produce flowers.

The spring blulbs require a cold period, just as they'd have if they'd been properly planted outdoors in soil in the fall. 

I start the bulbs in my unheated basement, where they seem to be very happy, and then I bring them upstairs when they seem ready to flower.

So far, I've had success growing indoor flowers this way from bulbs for tulips (safe from the squirrels and the deer), amaryllis, grape hyacinth (muscari) and, this year, the full-size hyacinths shown.

There are several tulip varieties now well rooted in water in the basement, and I'll start more today to compare the difference in growth with those set on water several weeks ago.


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