PRINCETON: It’s a busy horticultural holiday season for the Dogwood Garden Club

By Philip Sean Curran, Staff Writer
The first floor of Princeton’s Witherspoon Hall on Monday was filled with the scent of fresh Christmas wreaths, a touch of the holidays that seemed out of place in a government building where people had come for municipal court.
The culprits were a group of 14 women from the Dogwood Garden Club hard at work making holiday decorations that they intend sell to support their charity work, which includes helping young Americans go to college.
Club president Diana Cedeno, talking during a break from the busy activity, said the club annually gives scholarships at Mercer County Community College. In particular, the money aids students studying horticulture — something that would be right in line with the mission of a group that has been around since the 1950s.
A year ago, the club provided six scholarships worth $500 each, said fellow club member Diane Grosso. The money goes directly to the school, which determines who the recipients of the scholarships are.
“They make an evaluation … on their need and their scholarship abilities,” Ms. Cedeno said.
The college has horticultural courses in floral design, among other topics. Students come from the region, including Bucks County, Pennsylvania, to attend, Ms. Grosso said.
“So it’s not just the Mercer County students that are getting the scholarships. It could be anybody,” she said.
On Monday, the women arrived to get working in a meeting room located by a side entrance of Witherspoon Hall. Standing over tables covered with newspaper, they made wreaths and swags, a Christmas decoration, through the morning.
By selling those and other items, the group raises money at its annual luncheon — which was held Dec. 3 — to support its regular activities and charity work.
“This is our only fundraiser,” Ms. Grosso said.
Princeton has no shortages of garden clubs. This particular one traces its history back more than 55 years.
Founded in 1957, the club meets once monthly at the Johnson Education Center to share gardening tips and other information with its roughly 30 members. “We’re always welcoming for any new members,” said Gay Calin, a club member.
In past years, the Dogwood Garden Club has decorated the inside of Drumthwacket, the official residence for the governor, and this year did a tree at historic Morven. 