Camellia Club of Mobile Inc. Newsletter Volume VIIl Issue 6 March 2012


Do try to attend our March 11th Meeting at the Mobile Botanical Gardens. A panel of experienced camellia growers will be on hand to answer questions on a variety of topics, including how, when and what to fertilize, when and how to prune (some camellias are ferociously rapid growers!) and control of disease and/or pests. Correct care during the spring and summer will ensure that your favorite flowers will be in tip-top shape when bloom time starts next fall. If you have questions on any specific problem our experts will do their best to advise you - if you have blooms or foliage that do not look right, bring it to the meeting SECURELY SEALED IN A ZIPLOC BAG (we do not want to spread any possible problem further!) If you have camellias that you would like identified, bring them along to the meeting and we will attempt to give the “orphans” a name... We have realized over the years that camellias in our area will happily grow from seed producing offspring that look nothing like its parents and which never get named. These seedlings are often extremely sturdy and long-lived, I saw a delightful bright red single in Pensacola the other day that is hitting its century mark!

Propagation Meeting well attended

The February Meeting was very busy with over 50 members showing up to learn how to graft, air-layer and other means of propagating camellias. It was great to welcome several new members to the Club, some from Mobile and Baldwin County, and two couples from Mississippi, one from Hurley and the other from Laurel which is a really long way from Mobile! We’d like to thank Jim Smelley, Walter Creighton, Al Baugh and Jim Dwyer for sharing their expertise. We also appreciate the generosity of Jimmy Walker, Leo Brown, Jim Oates, Jim Smelley, Walter Creighton, Al Weeks and Lyman Holland in bringing excellent scions of a really good selection of named varieties, including japonicas, reticulatas and non-retic hybrids. Thanks to these gentlemen we also had blooms available so members purchasing the scions for $1.00 were able to choose the variety they liked best. A good meeting!


In Memoriam

We sadly announce the recent passing of Mrs. Daisy Oates, much loved mother of our long time member and Past President Jim Oates. Miss Daisy passed quietly at the beginning of February at the remarkable age of 98 with a clear mind until the end. Condolences from the Club were sent to Jim. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Camellia Chat....

When collecting items for the monthly Newsletter I keep a paper on which I note things that might be of interest – the last Newsletter had lots of items and I forgot to turn over my notes so completely missed what I had written on the back! Mea culpa (which is Latin for the rather weird new expression “my bad!” which I hope means “my fault!”). I forgot to mention the Judges Reception held the Friday evening prior to the Camellia Show in January. We had a new venue, using the Mobile Botanical Gardens for the first time. The tables were beautifully decorated with perfect camellia blooms provided by Jimmy Walker. One judge remarked that we were in for a great Show if the Club could use such excellent blooms as table decorations, not as entries in the Show! The reception was most successful with a great selection of food organized by Sharon Emmons and prepared by various members. As usual, everything was yummy, the Club does have some excellent cooks and we thank them all. Carolyn Oyler wore her camellia apron to help serve the food and several people came up with the idea that I should make a selection for sale at the Show! If anyone wants to take this on I’ll show them how to do it....

For those who wondered why Sharon Emmons was not at the Show, it was because of a tragic problem that day with one of her prize Cavalier King Charles spaniels who lost four of the five puppies she was due to produce. If you would like to see Sharon & Butch’s spaniels and some lovely camellia pictures go to their website www.cameliabaycavaliers .

The other item I forgot was the two garden tours that were held February 18th on Baylen Street in Pensacola by the Pensacola Camellia Club. We went and were the first arrivals (we went early since the weather was forecast to deteriorate by noon) and had a marvellous tour at both homes. The two gardens, around elegant large homes built in the late 1800’s, were quite different, but both filled with camellias. We were lucky to have personal guided tours and were fascinated to see oodles of seedlings being nurtured in ornamental pots in one house and several private garden “rooms” including a pond with magnificent koi in the other. Camellias were on sale, and we went home with “Betty Foy Sanders” to add to our collection. A most enjoyable morning, sorry I forgot to tell you about the tours!

This year has been splendid for camellias, with a really long blooming season, I’ve got several cultivars that are just now coming into full flower including “Tudor Baby”, “Tudor Baby Variegated”, “Elizabeth Ann” & “White by the Gate”, to name some of them. Several of my newer acquisitions bloomed for the first time for me, “Ecclefield” startled me with a HUGE chicken egg-sized bud that developed into a sturdy brilliant white bloom, great plant! I finally got a lovely bloom on my “Oyler’s Rachel Marie” which I grafted a couple or so years ago (freezing weather browned off all her buds last year ).

The Club has once again made a donation of $l,000 to the Mobile Botanical Gardens to be used specifically for their camellia garden. I have heard that there are plans underway to plant a camellia species section in that garden, I believe our own Secretary Dr. James Dwyer will be involved in this with Bobby Green, camellia expert and owner of Wintergarden Nurseries. I have at least six species in our collection tho’ I must ‘fess up the majority are c. japonica. One favorite is the tiny wee fragrant c. transnokoensis.

NOTE: Last Meeting of this season has been rescheduled to APRIL 15th, 2012.