Tom Castronovo, first and foremost, loves the outdoors. He is a featured columnist, executive editor and publisher of the Gardener News.
He has extensive green, and outdoor industry experience.
While working as a landscape professional for over 20 years, Tom found local information on gardening and landscaping in print difficult to locate. After successfully completing a Master Gardener course, Tom recognized the need to assemble, publish and disseminate information of interest to the gardening public in a print-friendly format. Gardener News germinated in April 2003 and continues to bloom today. Gardener News is the leading gardening newspaper in the New Jersey metropolitan area, delivering in-depth, comprehensive coverage of local gardening news and events.
Tom began his career in New Jersey’s green industry as a teenager, working at his uncle’s florist and garden center. The enjoyment he found in that work led to a career as a landscape professional lasting over 20 years. He found his voice as a regular presenter on television, covering a wide variety of gardening and landscaping topics. Often quoted as a reliable source in articles appearing in newspapers and other publications, Tom also became a featured speaker at garden conferences, garden clubs and community events.
Tom recognized the need for a publication which could disseminate vital information about horticulture to the public. In April 2003, the Gardener News was born. Under Tom’s leadership as Editor and Publisher, the newspaper has become the most important media outlet in New Jersey for the industry and for the gardening public. Gardener News covers not only topics on landscaping and gardening, but also the environment, agriculture and legislative action affecting the industry.
Tom’s thorough knowledge and deep concern for public safety and the environment prompted him to help draft two bills now awaiting approval in the New Jersey State Legislature; one regulating the use of silver colored flags for pesticide applications, and another to establish licensing procedures for landscape professionals.
New Jersey’s public gardens also have benefited from his attention. Tom played a vital role in the creation of the Garden State Gardens Consortium, offering his guidance from its inception through its recent efforts to create a New Jersey Public Gardens Day.
Whether in the forefront or behind the scenes, Tom provides the encouragement, inspiration and practical advice for those working in every aspect of New Jersey’s green industries.
He also has been honored as the “Volunteer of the Year” at the New Jersey Museum of Agriculture in 2004, and “Volunteer of the Year” for the Professional Landscape Alliance of New Jersey in 2005. In 2006, Tom was recognized with a “Media Specialist Award” in “sincere appreciation for the time and talents he so freely contributed for the benefits of the Rutgers Gardens.” Also in 2006, at the 30th Anniversary of the Rutgers Home Gardener’s School, Tom received the Rutgers-Cook College Continuing Professional Education’s “Community Outreach Award.”
In 2007, he was honored by Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, for his “sincere appreciation and his outstanding contributions and dedication” to the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. In 2013, he was honored by the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association as the “Person of the Decade,” receiving a letter from Governor Chris Christie thanking him for his “advocacy and support of New Jersey’s agricultural industry.” The letter also thanked him for the “years his publication has provided invaluable information to the thousands of New Jersey home gardeners, enthusiasts, landscaping professionals and nursery operators.”
Also in 2013, Tom received a Joint Resolution from the New Jersey Senate and Assembly “honoring and saluting him for being a highly esteemed member of his community and for his remarkable record of community leadership and professional achievement.” He also was saluted for “establishing a model to emulate and set a standard of excellence toward which others might strive, and for an individual of outstanding character and exceptional determination.” The Legislature also paid tribute to his profound and positive impact on the Garden State community.
In 2017, he received a “Certificate of Recognition” from the Mayor and Township Committee of the Township of Warren for his “accomplishments and the services he provides for the gardeners of New Jersey.” Also in 2017, he received a “Media Recognition Award” from the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association, in “recognition and sincere appreciation and continued support of the Green Industry.” And, he received The Friends of the Frelinghuysen Arboretum’s “Annual Award.”
In 2018, Tom received a “Special Recognition Award” from the New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association.
In 2019, Tom received a “Presidential Citation” from The Garden Club of New Jersey.
In 2023, Tom was recognized with a New Jersey “Senate Resolution” for being a highly esteemed member of the Garden State community, upon the Twentieth anniversary of Gardener News.
Tom has also been featured and/or mentioned in the following publications: The New York Times, The Star Ledger, Courier News, Italian Tribune, Elegant Lifestyles Magazine, New Jersey Countryside Magazine, Out & About Magazine, Seasons by Rebecca, The Record of Bergen County, The Journal, Echoes-Sentinel, Bernardsville News, Hillsborough Beacon, Ocean County Observer, Landscape Contractor National, and the New Jersey Herald . Tom also has been featured on UPN 9 News, Fox 5 News and CNN. And, in 1994, Tom was an extra on the hit NBC television comedy series Fraiser.
From June 2001 to October 2008, Tom was featured on News 12 New Jersey every Sunday night and Monday as the “Backyard Gardener.” His three-minute segments featured eco-friendly gardening, landscape do’s-and-don’ts, lawnmower and equipment safety, tree, shrub and turf tips, picking and choosing fruits, vegetables and flowers, pavers and hardscape information, and other gardening related topics. News 12 New Jersey is the exclusive 24-hour local news cable channel dedicated to serving 14 counties in Northern and Central New Jersey.
In October 2006, Tom made guest appearances on GardenSMART. He provided the gardening tips on shows 412, 413 and 501, filmed in New Jersey. He also made a guest appearance in October 2008. He provided the introduction for show 1305, also filmed in New Jersey. GardenSMART is a unique, exciting, informative television gardening program broadcast on local Public Broadcasting Stations (PBS) throughout the United States.
Tom was a featured guest speaker at the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Springfest Flower and Garden Show, fondly known as “The Garden Lover’s Flower Show,” in Augusta, N.J. He was also a featured guest speaker at the 2006, 2007 and 2008 MAC Events “New Jersey Flower and Garden Show” in Edison, N.J. Tom has presented to many garden clubs and community organizations as well.
In January 2008, Tom was a featured guest on Daily Connections, an informative and entertaining one-hour talk show that airs on Ebru Television. Daily Connections covers topics on health, family and relationships, as well as home, gardening, beauty and fashion. Ebru Television airs on satellite.
Tom has also been active in his community for many years and was involved in a number of organizations such as the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association, New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association, the Professional Landscape Alliance of New Jersey, the Liberty Corner Volunteer Fire Company, served as President of the Washington Valley Volunteer Fire Company, the Garden Writers Association, a founding member of the Garden State Gardens Consortium, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Pesticide Task Force, the Garden Conservancy and a founding trustee for the Wagner Farm Arboretum Foundation.
Tom has also successfully completed several emergency responder courses, such as The State of New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety Division of State Police Incident Command System; U.S. Department of Homeland Security FEMA IS-00700 National Incident Management System (NIMS); Somerset County, New Jersey Emergency Services Training Academy Fire/Police Course; New Jersey/New York Hazardous Materials Worker Training Center Emergency Response – Level 1 Awareness; New Jersey/New York Hazardous Materials Worker Training Center Emergency Response – Level 1 Operational; and the Somerset County, New Jersey Emergency Services Training Academy Integrated Search and Rescue Course.
He currently serves on the advisory committee for the Somerset County Vocational-Technical High School’s Horticulture and Landscape Technology program.
Tom lives and gardens in New Jersey, the Garden State.
Bob was appointed by the Biden Administration to serve as the State Executive Director of the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) in New Jersey in February 2022.
Andrzejczak was born and raised in Cape May, New Jersey. He joined the United States Army as an Infantryman in 2005. On his second deployment to Iraq, he was severely wounded when his convoy was attacked for which he was awarded the Purple Heart. Andrzejczak also received Bronze Star with Valor for trying to aid his fellow wounded soldiers as well as the Combat Infantryman Badge. After two years of recovering from his injuries at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C., Andrzejczak returned home to New Jersey.
Andrzejczak was active in multiple community-based service organizations before being appointed to serve in the New Jersey General Assembly in 2012. While in the Assembly, he served as Chairman of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee as well as the New Jersey representative on the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee of the Council of State Governments. He was appointed to the New Jersey Senate in 2018 and served until 2019.
Andrzejczak worked on a diversified produce operation throughout middle and high school. His community involvement includes serving as a leader for the Cub Scouts and 4-H Shooting Sports club. He has also been involved in the Veterans of Foreign Wars since 2010.
Andrzejczak and his wife Trisha live in Cape May, New Jersey, with their two children and enjoy camping and outdoor activities.
Joe Atchison III
New Jersey Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Joe Atchison III is directing the Department, assuming the responsibilities of Secretary, until the State Board of Agriculture’s recommendation for the new Secretary of Agriculture is approved by Governor Phil Murphy. Atchison is also the Director of the Division of Marketing and Development for the department.
Andrew Bunting is Vice President of Horticulture for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. He is one of the most recognized horticulturists in the Philadelphia, Pa., region and a highly regarded colleague in the world of professional horticulture. Bunting has amassed a plethora of awards, including the American Public Gardens Association Professional Citation, Chanticleer Scholarship in Professional Development, Delaware Center for Horticulture’s Marion Marsh Award, and the Certificate of Merit from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. In addition, Bunting has lectured extensively throughout North America and Europe, and participated in plant expeditions throughout Asia and Africa.
Bruce Crawford is a lover of plants since birth, and is the Manager of Horticulture for the Morris County Parks Commission. He is also a Past President of the Garden State Gardens Consortium.
Bert is President of the New Jersey Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture and CO/Owner of Action Tress Service (#NJTC768009).
Andy is director of Food and Beverage & Executive Chef at Ballyowen and Black Bear Golf Courses at Crystal Springs Resort in Sussex County, NJ.
Hubert is the Horticultural Chairman for the Native Plant Society of New Jersey.
Peter is co-owner of Melick’s Town Farm in Oldwick, and continues the family tradition as a tenth generation farmer who’s committed to agriculture. He’s chair of the Hunterdon County Agriculture Development Board, a director of the NJ Farm Bureau, and past president of the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture.
For the past five decades, travel, academic studies, and work have provided a rewarding context for Lesley’s love of plants. After a long career in museums and botanic gardens around the world she retired from her final post as Superintendent of Horticultural Education at New Jersey’s Morris County Park Commission, where she oversaw programming and interpretation at The Frelinghuysen Arboretum, Willowwood Arboretum and Bamboo Brook Outdoor Education Center. Currently, Lesley is enjoying her own garden and spending time with like-minded plant people. She is a member of the Herb Society of America, the Council on Horticultural and Botanical Libraries, and Garden State Gardens, a consortium of New Jersey’s public gardens of which she is a founding member and past president.
Todd is vice-president of Jonathan Green, a leading supplier of lawn and garden products in the northeast.
Brian Schilling leads all Rutgers Cooperative Extension programs. Rutgers Cooperative Extension helps New Jersey’s diverse population to adapt to a rapidly changing society and improve their lives and communities through an educational process that uses science-based knowledge.
Gail is the Executive Director of the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association.