Camellia Club of Mobile  Newsletter


Volume XII Issue 2 -  Editor: Vera Curry                                                                     October 2015



Highly recommend attending the Club Meeting on October 11 - Donnie Barrett, owner and operator of the Fairhope Tea Plantation will be giving a presentation specially for our Camellia Club members. This is the second-largest tea plantation in the USA, operated by him for thirty years. You will learn about growing Camellia sinensis  (the tea plant’s formal name) and how tea is actually made from its leaves.  You’ll also learn how to brew tea and you’ll get to sample various types of tea including green and oolong.  Even if you don’t want to make your own tea, C. sinensis is a very pretty plant with small creamy white or pinkish blooms, well worth having in your collection.  Remember this Meeting will be held on Sunday, October 11, at 2:00 p.m. at the Fairhope Museum of History, 24 North Section St., Fairhope, Alabama.  So all our Mobile members will have to find their passports and make it across the Bay to the wilds of Baldwin County!! Seriously though, we are sure this will be a meeting you will not want to miss.



The first Meeting of the new 2015-2016 Camellia was very well attended, everyone had a great time greeting friends and finding out what they’d been doing over the long, hot & humid summer (and this year it really was very hot and very humid!). Our speaker for this first meeting was Maarten van der Geissen of van der Geissen Nursery in Semmes. A glitch in communications meant we did not get to see the Power Point presentations he had brought, but we were treated to a very interesting informative tour of the azaleas planted in the Mobile Botanical Gardens, I have the feeling that anyone who has azaleas in their garden (yard) will be busy getting their hands on some of those lovely Aromi varieties.  Many members will be marking their calendars to remind themselves to visit the Botanical Gardens when the azaleas are in full bloom. Our most sincere thanks to Mr. van der Geissen for sharing his expertise with us.



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.



We are sad to report the passing of long-time Club member Maxwell Stewart, he was 91 years old and lost a bravely fought battle against brain cancer in May. Max was a great gardener with a huge fund of horticultural knowledge. He also raised bob white quail, guineas and peacocks.  Bill & I remember attending a meeting of the Palm Society at the Stewarts’ beautiful garden as guests of Jim & Dolores Oates.  The speaker at that meeting was interrupted by a proud mama peahen who paraded her brood of tiny baby peachicks straight through the assembled membership. She felt her achievement in hatching that lot was not to be ignored!  Our most sincere condolences to Gloria and their family.


Members who commented on the absence of Laura Barnard at our September meeting found out that this dear lady has been undergoing chemotherapy this summer for cancer and is now having radiation treatment. None of which has been much fun - a note or card would help cheer her up, Jim Dwyer can give you her address. Love you, Laura...


NOTICE OF CAMELLIA SHOW CANCELLATION:  We regret to pass on the news that the Fort Walton Beach Camellia Club has had to cancel their Camellia Show which was scheduled for November 14, 2015. This show was always the first of the season for the Gulf Coast. We all looked forward to seeing the blooms (especially the gibbed purple ones) and meeting up with friends from all the other Clubs that exhibited at Fort Walton Beach, Florida.


While browsing through an American Camellia Society quarterly magazine from 1958 (which I borrowed from Jim Smelley) I found a list of Camellia Shows held throughout the US that spring - the Shreveport, Louisiana, Club had a total of 14,000 blooms in their Show on March 8/9, 1958!!!!!!  Yep, that’s fourteen thousand!!!!  The Ozone Camellia Club of Slidell, LA, (this Club is still operating) had a total of 5,260 in their Show on January 25, 1958....  Lots of Clubs, no longer active, showed 2,000 or more blooms.  The Men’s Camellia Club of Mobile was not on the list, guess the information got to the ACS too late for the printers...