Camellia Club of Mobile Inc.Newsletter Vol. VIII Issue 4  Jan  2012

Get ready…get set…get Show!

It’s that time again – our annual Camellia Show will take place at Colonial Mall Bel Air on January 21 & 22.  Enclosed with this newsletter is an updated/corrected Show Program brochure and a poster advertising the Show.  If you can, put the poster up so people in your area will know about the Show, make copies if you can, or obtain more copies at our January 8, 2012, meeting.  Show Chairman Walter Creighton will be getting us all organized at this meeting, there will be something for everyone who wants to take part in one of the best camellia shows in the USA!  You can help out for any length of time that suits you, hours or minutes!  Read the Show Program carefully, you’ll find that once again we’ve expanded the number of awards (novices – remember there are three for you guys!) with two new special awards donated by Florence Crowder for antique pre-l900 camellias. Don’t miss this meeting you’ll then have two weeks to get your blooms in their best shape for the Show – which we know  you will not miss.


Don’t forget about the gorgeous Boehm porcelain camellia “Helen Bower” which has been donated by Robert Moore and Larry Heard for the Club Raffle which will take place at the close of the January 2012 Camellia Show – tickets are $2.00 each or 3 for $5.00.  Tickets are available at our Meetings, at the Show or from Martha Terry, our Treasurer.  You do not have to be present to win!  This lovely ornament can be seen at  Robert Moore’s Christmas Town.

Christmas Party and Auction well attended

Over 60 Club members joined in the holiday festivities at the Club’s Christmas Party, lots of lovely food was thoroughly enjoyed, plus our perennial auctioneer Jim Oates and his ‘elf’ did their usual sterling job in coaxing the well-fed members to part with their money for the variety of items on auction. Our heartfelt thanks to all who cooked and brought food to share and to those who helped fill the Club’s coffers by buying at the auction.  Bless you all!


Also enclosed with this newsletter is a flyer from John and Stephanie Grimm, Club members from Louisiana, who are holding an “open garden” weekend at their home, “Camellia Heaven” on March 3rd and 4th, 2012.  At the bottom of the flyer is info on two Camellia Shows and a Camellia Walk.  We went to the Tangipahoa Master Gardeners Camellia Walk at the LA Extension Service in Hammond last year – came away with scions for “Little Dixie” and “Cardinal’s Cap” both of which are now flourishing in my grafting bed. Many of the camellias there originated with Hody Wilson, a very well-known camellia expert.

The Northshore Camellia Club’s Show at Covington LA., and the Pensacola Camellia Club’s Show in Florida were both brilliant – loads of blooms and lots of exhibitors including our Club members.  It is so nice to visit with all these camellia aficionados (after  they’ve put out their blooms!) Saw more varieties that are just ‘must haves’….

While wandering through our camellias early Christmas morning, complete with cup of tea, I noted that elegant “Jerry Donnan” is still one of the very first of our japonicas to bloom and it blooms heavily for several months.  Our best white at the moment is Dr. Ackerman’s “April Snow” a very strong brilliantly white medium formal double.  If you’re looking for a very large camellia that does not need gibbing, try “Moonlight Bay”, this gorgeous pale pink semi-double with a golden trumpet of stamens is really big, 5 to 6 inches with no encouragement!  If you’re looking for a small flower with lots of zing you couldn’t do better than “Green’s Blues” from Bobby Green in Fairhope – with grape-blue buds and a vibrant purple-red bloom. Ours has low spreading growth, most attractive (though the fact that hurricane Ivan dropped an old long leaf pine on it when it was just a teeny tiny plant may be responsible…)

While browsing on the Internet the other day (just type in “camellias” in the search box and you’ll find enough to keep you interested for months) I found the site for Caerhays Castle and Gardens.  This was and is owned by the Williams family (as is Burncoose Nursery – another site to look at) – about 100 years ago J.C. Williams (1862-1939) began financing the plant explorers from U.K. including Mr. Forrest.  Camellias, of course, were already being brought back for the avid English plant collectors.  In the 1920’s J.C. Williams crossed a japonica with a saluenensis in a most successful attempt to produce a camellia better suited to the U.K. weather and low light conditions.  This started the breed of camellias known as williamsii camellias. In the US these camellias are included in the “non-reticulata hybrid” classication for shows.  Caerhays is in Cornwall, the first English county that reaps the benefits of the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream which flows from here to encircle the British Isles. In the U.K. most flowers have National Collections which are grown in specific gardens. The U.K. National Collection of c.williamsii hybrids is held at Wentworth Castle’s gardens – over 100 varieties.  The National Collection of c. japonica is held at Mount Edgcumbe House also in Cornwall.