Camellia Club of Mobile Inc.Newsletter Vol.VIII Issue 5 Feb 2012


After last year’s dismal Show with less than 500 blooms due to Mother Nature’s icy fingers, we really came roaring back this year with 2,799 blooms on show from 76 exhibitors, making the Mobile Camellia Club’s 72nd Show the largest so far this year in the U.S. south-east, (Tallahassee was the next biggest with 1,922 blooms). We probably would have rounded out to 2,800 if the tiny wee camellia transnokoensis I was displaying on the Club Table had shouted out and been counted! So many Club members turned out to help put on this floral extravaganza that it will be impossible to list all the people who worked on the Show, I know Show Chairman Walter Creighton will thank you all most sincerely at the February Meeting. Personally, I’d like to give thanks for the tremendous work done by the Club Table ladies, Martha Terry, Alice Creighton and Frances Ashcraft, these three sold all but two of our camellia plants, all of the camellia painted mugs & snack sets, oodles of raffle tickets for the Boehm porcelain camellia “Helen Bower” and signed up lots of new members and renewed old ones. The money they made will ensure our Club continues to flourish and put on super Shows like we have just done. My thanks to George & Marietta Smith for pitching in and helping on sorting out the sweepstakes cards, and to Vickie Baugh for getting the complete results of the Show onto the American Camellia Society website so rapidly. Thanks, of course, always go to the exhibitors who bring such stunning blooms and to the tireless judges who bravely take on the task of finding the very best in such a sea of red, white and pink excellence! It was also a pleasure to see so many more entries from our Mobile Club members, and they won awards, too….


The beautiful porcelain camellia “Helen Bower” was on show at the Club Table and lots of people purchased raffle tickets. At the close of the Show on Sunday at 4 p.m. the winning ticket was drawn by Larry Heard, who along with Robert Moore, donated this gorgeous item. We congratulate the winners Al & Vickie Baugh. This ornament is sold exclusively at Robert Moore’s Christmas Town if you missed out on the raffle. I believe that they may still have a few “Debutante” and “Mathotiana” still available, as well as “Helen Bower”. Larry & Robert, we sincerely thank you and do appreciate your generosity to the Club.

Come propagate at our next Meeting, February l2th, 2012

One of our most well attended meetings is our February one where traditionally we have experts on hand to demonstrate various methods of increasing your collection of camellias. There will be propagation shown via grafting, air-layering, growing from seed, etc. Jim Smelley will graft a number of pots of rootstock which will be available to members for purchase (new and newer members will be given preference in buying these grafted plants). Also available will be scions of various hard to find and popular camellias for those who wish to graft at home. These scions will be at a special table, all marked with their names on their leaves, and will cost $1.00 each, all proceeds to go to the Club. If you have scions you’d like to donate, please be sure to write the name on a leaf of the scion. Plastic Ziploc bags will be available to transport your treasures home.


A large crowd of members descended on Agricola, MS, on Sunday, February 5, to view Elaine & Jim Smelley’s greenhouses and their fabulous contents. Many members were repeat visitors, (no-one passes up a chance to tour these greenhouses!) but quite a few were first time viewers. They were dazzled, and quite rightly so! One gentleman remarked that our Show was the first camellia show he’d been to, and now he was totally impressed with the Smelleys’ blooms. I did explain to some new visitors that visiting Elaine & Jim’s place was the equivalent of going to a Rolls Royce showroom, while if they traipsed through my garden (oops! yard) they would be at a Ford dealers! Our thanks to Elaine & Jim for their hospitality, I have no idea how they do it all, they had been off to Brookhaven’s Show on the Saturday to exhibit some hundred or so blooms, plus they also were on the judging roster for that Show…. I guess camellias keep one going.

Don’t forget - John and Stephanie Grimm, Club members from Louisiana, are holding an “open garden” weekend at their home, “Camellia Heaven” on March 3rd and 4th, 2012. If our nice weather continues it should be a pleasant trip to see camellias. Details of this were enclosed with your last newsletter.

It was so nice to see so many old friends at our 72nd Show, Belle Bender was there and we had a nice little visit before she dived in to see all the lovely blooms. Also welcomed by everyone was our dear friend Earl Comstock and his new English wife Beryl. Earl looked great and everyone complimented Beryl on the excellent job she was doing in getting him back on his feet. We did miss lovely Liz Jeffares, but I know her ears and George Griffin’s must have been burning because there was much reminiscing about the days gone by and the camellia people who are no longer with us or can’t make it to the Shows.

Congrats to Carole Savage, Kimela Olensky and Florence Nelson on winning the Novice trophies at our Show – now you’re running with the big dogs! Paul Huerkamp of Louisiana just beat out our own Al & Vickie Baugh for the grown uprotected Sweepstakes award. But Al & Vickie were not too upset, they won the porcelain “Helen Bower”at our Show, then won Best in Show at the Brookhaven Show in Mississippi with (wait for it…) a lovely “Helen Bower”!!! Didn’t they do well….

Our quiet little friend Marcheta Houston was hospitalized during the Show due to a rather horrid fall that left her quite badly bruised. We have sent her our best wishes for a speedy recovery with a get-better-quick card. Secretary Jim Dwyer made up the card featuring the blooms at the Show, lovely idea. Speaking of Jim, he is currently busy hybridizing some of his camellias, one cross-pollination is “Frank Houser” and one of the yellow species camellia, If he gets a seed out of this I’m dying to see what develops, can you imagine a huge yellow “Frank Houser”??? Jim doesn’t hold out much hope for that , but one can dream can’t one?