Camellia Club of Mobile Inc. Newsletter   Issue 7  Vol XII    March  2016


Our March 13th Meeting at the Mobile Botanical Gardens will feature a Power Point presentation (slide show to us old-timers) by our Club Secretary, Dr. Jim Dwyer.  For some time now, Jim has been collecting and tabulating information on all the named camellia varieties developed in our area over the years. Gardeners and nurserymen around Mobile have been producing new varieties for well over three-quarters of a century – e.g. “Imura” named in 1939 by the famed K. Sawada of Overlook Nursery.  Amateur and professional growers are still giving us gorgeous new varieties such as Jim & Elaine Smelley’s “Elaine” 2013 and Bobby Green of Green’s Nursery’s “Green’s Blues”.  This will be a very interesting information-filled presentation, which we have never seen before –probably because it has been difficult to find someone with Jim’s patience and dedication to collect all this data and pictures!  There will be small note pads and pens available for you to take notes.  Club members who have grown and registered new blooms will explain the process of selecting a bloom worthy of naming and how to register it.   Looking forward to seeing you at this special meeting.

Rick & Joyce Crow’s Garden Tour very well-attended

The horde of Club members who turned up for a tour of Rick & Joyce Crow’s camellia woodland garden on February 21st were not disappointed.   The weather behaved beautifully – slightly overcast and warm enough for many to wander around in shirt sleeves!   Rick was concerned when we made arrangements for the tour that all he would have blooming would be some reticulatas -  but thanks to this rather strange winter we have had, almost everything was in bloom, including the retics.  The garden was beautifully laid out under a high canopy of longleaf pines and oaks, with wooden bridges and a lovely lake.  I think I must have wandered a couple of miles through the woodland setting.   Members less able to walk were treated to tours by Joyce driving a powerful electric buggy.  A card of thanks for such an enjoyable afternoon was sent to Rick and Joyce from all the Club members. We had a great time, though I think Rick was somewhat startled by the large turnout!


Many members attended the annual propagation meeting and newer members carefully watched Jim Dwyer grafting onto sasanqua stock.  We had a lot of people getting scions to take home to graft, our thanks to Jimmy Walker, Leo Brown, Lyman Holland Jr., Mike Ballard, Al & Vickie Baugh, Ronald & Vaudine Driskell and the Currys for donating scions for sale to benefit the Club.



Don’t forget to take photos over the next few weeks so you can enter them in the Club’s annual Photo Contest which has four categories  - look on the Schedule of Meetings on our website for details of the categories.  Prizes will be awarded!


Received the latest International Camellia Society Journal recently – lots of extremely interesting articles, lovely pictures.  Forrest Latta, one of our members, had a four page article on K. Sawada.  One piece of information I found that opened my eyes was in Peter Warren’s article on camellia bonsai cultivation – he said that you could get a good start on a bonsai by using an air-layered branch – very interesting.


In the same Journal  there was a photo of a beautiful pink camellia reticulata developed by Antonio Assuncao of Portugal,  The female parent was “Al Gunn” (a retic seedling from California) the proud papa is unknown.  The point of this info is that Antonio has named his gorgeous bloom in honour of our own member Florence Crowder !  Florence, as most of us know, has spent a lot of time rescuing antique camellias,  and sponsors trophies at most of  the camellia shows in the south  for blooms registered/named prior to 1900.  Our congratulations to Florence. How nice of Antonio to name his flower  for you, we’re all proud for you.  (NOW – how do we get a scion????)


This has been a very strange camellia season, almost every camellia grown unprotected seems to have covered itself in blooms.  You can see very old untended bushes that usually struggle to produce a few blooms each year,  bearing a huge amount of flowers this season.  No plants seem to be obeying their usual early, mid or late blooming dates – my “Mary Agnes Patin”  supposedly an early bloomer but always a mid bloomer for me, starteded out really early and in still blooming. “Tudor Baby” and its variegated sibling have just started blooming at the beginning of March…. Right now I have camellias and azaleas in equal quantities, definitely not normal!   But I’m not complaining.