Southeast Alabama Camellia Society’s 2014 Camellia Show

The Southeast Alabama Camellia Society’s 5th annual Camellia Show held on Saturday, against the backdrop of a beautiful spring-like day, was indeed the consummate  gardening event.  With well over seven hundred entries from a tri-state area and an attendance that exceeded expectations, the American Camellia Society sanctioned event was quite a success even in spite of the recent ice storm.

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Mobile attorney Forrest Latta, a master camellia gardener in his own right and currently a Gulf Regional Director for the American Camellia Society (ACS), was in attendance Saturday, and commented on the show’s success.  His garden contains approximately two hundred camellias, and he has a passion for preserving the camellia’s heritage.  January 7th was celebrated as the Day of the Camellia at the Dothan Area Botanical Gardens where Latta was the featured speaker.  In 1959 the camellia was designated as Alabama’s state flower.

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Latta also pointed out that us tea aficionados have the camellia plant to thank for the most consumed beverage in the world.  Camellia Sinensis is commonly referred to as the tea plant.

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Judges, representing the ACS guidelines and regulations, awarded winners in numerous categories represented both unprotected and protected classifications.  Protected camellias are grown in greenhouses while unprotected camellias are of the garden variety.

Feast your eyes on the highlights of this year’s show . . .

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W.P. Gilley Memorial Award:  Kay Berridge variety

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Best Blossom in Show Unprotected:  Dixie Knight variety

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Best Large to Very Large Japonica Unprotected:  Cleve James Variety

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Best Medium Japonica Unprotected

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Best Small Japonica, Unprotected

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Best Reticulata, Unprotected:  Frank Houser variety

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Best Tray of Three, Unprotected:  Ville De Nantes variety

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Best White:  Sea Foam

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Best Miniature:  Fiscone Variety

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Best Large to Extra Large Japonica, Protected:  Gullio Huccio

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Best Medium Japonica, Protected:   Elaine’s Betty Variety

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Best small Japonica, Protected:  Man Size

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Best Reticulata, Protected:   Linda Carol

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Best Non-Reticulata Hybrid:  Spring Daze

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More blue ribbon winners . . . .

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One of my favorite Tray of Threes:  Rena Swick Variety

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Best Mutant:

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Best Novice Bloom: Sayonara

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Best Tray of Three, Unprotected:

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Best Reticulata, Unprotected:  Frank Houser

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I especially admired this Tom Perkins

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Midnight Magic:

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There was an endless array of magical blooms . . .

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Kick Off:  Tray of Three

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Miss Sally

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Helen Bower

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Georgia National Fair

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My personal favorite:  Ethel Rhyne

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Below are many blooms that were featured in the Court of Honor:

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Court of Honor, Mary Alice Cox, was another elegant white bloom

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Tri-state Camellia growers truly showcased an endless variety of their most elegant blooms . . .

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Triumphing as Best Blossom in Show, Protected – Princess Masako

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I continue to enjoy the benefits of this wonderful show even several days after its conclusion.  As the show ended the gracious members were so kind to share many of the entries with me.  Valentine’s Day came early for me! 

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There are even life lessons regarding camellias to be learned in Southern literature.  In Harper Lee’s ( of Monroeville, AL)  classic Southern novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, Jem and Scout passed by old Mrs. Dubose’s home everyday on the way home from school.  Angered by her verbal attacks on Atticus, Jem used Scout’s baton to rip the blooms off her white camellia bushes which she referred to as “Snow on the Mountain”.  As punishment, Atticus had Jem read each day to Mrs. Dubose.  Atticus’ lesson to the children through this experience was that courage is standing up for what is right no matter what.  After the reading sessions, she sent Jem a perfect Snow on the Mountain camellia preserved in wax in a candy box.  Atticus commented: “I think that was her way of telling you everything’s all right…”

The white camellia in this book so beautifully symbolizes the art of forgiveness…

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Camellia Song

Camellia oracle of winter bliss
You are the promise of springs renewal
Midst the slumbering landscape
Like winters splendid jewel

Your miracle of life
So delicate and so sweet
You adorn Victorian homes
Upon these earthly streets

The beauty of your elegance
Your fragile blossom lingers
The softness of your petals
Pass through my waiting fingers

I celebrate your symmetry
Your absolute perfection
Creation of that Life divine
You are but God’s reflection

You are a life long lesson
A song that’s ever sung
From the deepest winter spell
You bring forth the morning sun

Lynne FincherSpringarden

2 thoughts on “Southeast Alabama Camellia Society’s 2014 Camellia Show

  1. Beautiful Beautiful Blog especially with the beauty that you express within the Blog. Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful moments with us.
    Blessings,
    Judy

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