Camellia Club of Mobile  Newsletter



Volume XI Issue 5  -  Editor: Vera Curry                                             _________________________________________                              January 2015


We are thankful and happy to report that our friend Jim Smelley is recovering well from a heart operation at Providence Hospital in Mobile.  At present he is in the cardiac care unit, hoping to be moved to a rehabilitation facility later this week where he will spend two weeks before returning to his home in Moss Point, MS.  He has already been told by his cardiologist that he must not drive for four weeks after he gets home!  Four of our Club members, Jimmy Walker, Leo Brown, and Don & Carolyn Oyler have been taking 6-hour shifts at Jim’s bedside since he was admitted to ensure he has the very best of care. Bless you all for your thoughtful kindness.  Club members have already been visiting and a line is forming of drivers volunteering to chauffer Jim any place he wants to go while he is forbidden to drive. Obviously the Club’s planned tour of the gorgeous camellias in his greenhouses will have to wait until next year.  



Despite Mother Nature smacking the Gulf Coast with two below-freezing nights just before our 75th Show, visitors saw a lovely array of over 1,000 pink, white and crimson blooms on display at Colonial Bel Air Mall.  After the judging was completed the Awards Stand was gorgeous, we had at least 49 exhibitors from Alabama and the Gulf states and 30 of them won awards!  It was a very cheerful, social Show and it was nice to meet those folk we only see at the Show. Lots of people visited the Club table (I swear Frances Ashcraft knows everyone in the Mobile area!) saw David Nihart’s sister and Pat & Joann Ryan’s daughter. David, of course, is an ex-President of the Club as was the late Pat Ryan who also managed Bellingrath Gardens for years - the road into the Mobile Botanical Gardens is named for him. The food table was seriously attacked by members and exhibitors, especially that yummy-looking King Cake brought by Paul Huerkamp of Slidell - he gave it to me to put on the table, by the time I got a spare minute to get back to get a piece, it was totally decimated! The Judges Reception on Friday night was most enjoyable as usual, our thanks to our organizer Sharon Emmons and all the members who prepared and brought food. Several members have enquired about Carol Comber, our exhibitor from Pensacola who, while enjoying the hubbub with exhibitors preparing their blooms for the table, fainted and gave her head a nasty crack on the floor.  Luckily Dr. Dodson of Birmingham was there, along with our nurses Vickie Baugh and Cheryl Rawls so she was in good hands until the EMTs arrived to take her to hospital.  Apparently she did not suffer any serious injury and is now back to normal. Our sincere thanks to all Club members who worked so hard to put on such a pleasant and successful show, hope you all enjoyed it!  Many thanks to the exhibitors who provided such beautiful blooms and the  judges who chose the winners.


Do you want to add to your camellia collection (daft question - of course you do!) - then you should attend the February 8th Meeting which will demonstrate all the methods of propagating your favorite flower, the camellia, by grafting (easy when you’re shown how), air-layering (you end up with a large plant), rooting (inexpensive way to get lots of plants), planting seeds (takes a while but you could get a show-stopper).  Our experts will be doing hands-on demonstrations and, of course, will answer questions. Several of our members with special collections will be donating scions of hard-to-find varieties which will be sold at $1.00 each to benefit the Club.  This is one of our most popular programs, and you will be able to learn a lot.  If you are a new member this is an important meeting to attend.



Enclosed with this newsletter (for those getting it by USPS) is a copy of an invitation from John Grimm to visit his garden “Camellia Heaven”, 83381 House Creek Road, Bush, Louisiana, on February 28 - March 1.  He has oodles of camellia varieties - copies of the invite, which gives directions to get there, will be available at our February Meeting.


Larry Heard, President, advises all Board Members there will be a Board Meeting immediately after the Feb. Meeting.


Brookhaven Camellia Club Show - 7 February at Brookhaven Recreation Dept., 689 Hwy 51 North, Brookhaven, MS.

Baton Rouge Camellia Club Show - 14/15 Feb at LSU Rural Life Museum, 4560 Essen Lane at I-10, Baton Rouge LA

Southeast Alabama Camellia Society Show -7 March at 1st United Methodist Church, 1380 W. Main, Dothan, AL


The ACS Convention hosted by the Tallahassee Camellia Society at the end of January was thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended - people I spoke with are still dazzled by Randolph Maphis’ garden and by Mark Crawford’s camellias.