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Dec 20, 2021

Event Honors Rumson Garden Club Former President

Members of the Rumson Garden Club

More than 200 members of the Garden Club of America (GCA) gathered at the Rumson Country Club Riverhouse this fall for the New Jersey Committee of the Garden Club of America’s annual Lecture and Luncheon, benefitting the Millicent Mercer Johnsen Summer Intern Scholarship Program. 

Co-hosted by Rumson Garden Club and Princeton Garden Club, this year’s event had special meaning for the Two River Community, as it celebrated and honored the work of Millicent Mercer Johnsen, a Rumson resident who served not only as Rumson Garden Club’s president from 1964 to 1967, but as the Garden Club of America’s president from 1983 to 1985, working with the 200 GCA garden clubs and their thousands of members across the country to achieve the goals of the GCA. Johnsen established the New Jersey Committee of the GCA in 1987. She saw the advantage of the New Jersey GCA Clubs’ camaraderie and proximity and worked to support those clubs through grants for projects in their communities. To date, the “Growing Fund” has awarded more than $500,000 to projects across the state, including a recent grant which helped Rumson Garden Club establish an outdoor garden classroom at Monmouth Daycare Center.

Rumson Garden Club members Ibby Hertz, Cionna Buckley and Cynthia Labracque greet attendees at the Rumson Country Club Riverhouse.

In 1989, Johnsen established a summer intern scholarship fund of the New Jersey Committee, honoring students at Rutgers University in the fields of horticulture, plant sciences, the environment and landscape design. 2021 scholarship winner and Rutgers Gardens intern Christopher Idell told the attendees about his work in plant propagation, plant identification and managing invasive species, all of which will serve him well in his career in ecology. His interest in modeling and predicting future climate scenarios will be focused on minimizing ecology loss in the face of global warming.

The Fall Luncheon and Lecture also featured a program by Christin Geall, gardener, photographer, art historian, floral designer, teacher, and the author of “Cultivated: The Elements of Floral Style.” A unique boutique and native plant sale added to the pleasures of the day.

For more information on Rumson Garden Club’s local projects benefitting the Two River community, visit RumsonGardenClubNJ.org.