Camellia Club of Mobile  Newsletter


Volume XII Issue 3 -  Editor: Vera Curry___                     __November 2015



If you grow camellias (and what good gardener in the southern states doesn’t?) you will find lots of information available at our next Meeting at the Mobile Botanical Gardens.  If you have questions about any aspect of camellia culture you will be able to find the answers you need from our panel of experienced and expert camellia growers. The amount of knowledge that is available at these cultivation meetings is truly amazing - after over twenty years with the Club I still find out new tips on growing our favorite flower.  So bring pencil and paper to take notes!  Looking forward to seeing everyone on Sunday.  If you have any blooms out, do bring them so we can all enjoy them.        .  



Donnie Barrett, owner and operator of the Fairhope Tea Plantation, took time out from his business to share the most interesting facts on the methods and magic he uses in transforming some tiny green Camellia sinensis plants into the most popular drink in the world. (Yes, I know the Scots think whiskey has that title, while Coca Cola also claims it, but they’re wrong!).  All the approximately thirty Club members who attended the presentation on October 11th thoroughly enjoyed it.   Donnie, who is also curator of the Fairhope Museum where the meeting was held, gave a most enjoyable, informative and entertaining talk.     Those of us who missed it (including myself since I was in UK) are really tee-d off ( forgive the dreadful pun!).     Donnie brought tea for tasting, plus some small bare-rooted tea plants for sale. A great meeting and our thanks to Club Vice-President Larry Bush for arranging this with Donnie.



All members are requested to read the proposed up-dated version of the Club’s Bye-Laws.  You will find them on the Club’s website at  If you have any comments, changes, etc. please address them in writing to our President Larry Heard at 4213 Halls Mill Road, Mobile, Alabama 36693.



Since the last Newsletter we have lost two more members of our extended camellia family. Sadly, on September 27, our friend and two-time past President of our Club, David Nihart, died unexpectedly in Mobile at age 64.  David was President when I joined the Club in the early ‘90s.  At the second meeting I attended David gave me a one-year-old Black Magic camellia he had grafted from his own plant.  Years later, at our January Show, I showed him a lovely bloom from that gift, David (an accredited ACS Camellia Show judge for many years, but not judging at our own Show) reached into the bloom with the eraser end of his pencil and eased back the center petals to expose a flawless boss of brilliant golden stamens!  That bloom won me the Dolores Oates Trophy thanks to David’s tip. If you ever went to the now closed Roussos Restaurant during camellia time, you almost certainly saw a huge container with dozens of gorgeous camellia blooms floating in it - those were all David’s blooms. All who have attended our Judges Reception the evening before our Show will have appreciated David’s perennial contribution of liquid refreshments to that convivial gathering. We know everyone will raise a glass to him next January in appreciation of his many years of service to our Club.  David, you are and will be missed.                                                                   


On October 24 long-time camellia aficionado Maddox “Max” Mizell passed away in Louisiana at the age of 90. Max and his late wife Marie were an integral part of our January Camellia Show for many, many years.  They did not just attend Shows - though they seldom exhibited - they both helped out where help was needed, with placement, clerking, and aiding newbie exhibitors.  At the recent American Camellia Society meeting in Tallahassee, Florida, the ACS presented Max with their Tablet of Honor award to both him and Marie in recognition of their years of service to the camellia community throughout the USA.  Max kept his love of camellias to the end, attending the Gulf Coast Camellia Society’s annual meeting just days before he died.  We will miss Max and that lovely wide smile that lit up his face when he spotted a friend and fellow camellia lover at a show.



Fort Walton Beach Camellia Show - set for November 14, 2015 - has been cancelled.