Thomasville Times Enterprise

January 21, 2014

Camellias are ready for annual show

Staff report

THOMASVILLE — Members of the local garden clubs are preparing for the annual Camellia Show, scheduled for Feb. 8 from 1:30 p.m.-5 p.m. at the Thomasville Garden Center.  The show is sponsored by Thomasville Garden Club Inc. in cooperation with the American Camellia Society. Members of the Briarcliff Garden club are in charge of the show with help from the other three local garden clubs, Lady Banks, Rambler Rose and Killarney Queen.

According to Pat Johnson, who is co-chairing the show with Marge Willis, the event is open to everyone.

“We have separate divisions for garden club members, judges and the general public, so everyone who has camellias in their yard can cut them and bring them in for judging,” she noted.

The ideal specimen has two leaves and the judging is based on the size and health of the blossom and also the health and appearance of the leaves.

“If the leaves of your blossoms aren’t perfect, then you can cut leaves from another branch and lay them with your blossom,” she added.

Willis noted, “This year's weather has been constantly changing from mild to bursts of extreme cold, so everyone is waiting until closer to the show date to see just how many beautiful blooms will be available.”

“There will be expert, accredited judges who know their camellias, so if you have wondered about the names of the blossoms in your yard, the show offers a great opportunity to have your plants identified,” she added.

Regional growers will be bringing in blooms from greenhouses, which are spectacular in comparison to the blooms grown in the garden. 

Thomasville is blessed to have so many camellias planted in private gardens. A highlight of the show will be the educational exhibit showing the 69 varieties of camellias that were developed by citizens of Thomasville beginning with the F.L. Gibson developed by F.L. Gibson in 1935 to Snow Lady, developed by Wade Chastain Sr. in 1995. Some of the most popular local varieties include Pink Perfection, Adolph Audisson, Beatrix Hoyt, Taylor’s Perfection,(Wight’s Nursery) Elegance, Tar Baby,(Dr. Mervin Wine), and Tomcat (Albert Tuck). The popular Betty Sheffield was developed in Quitman by Mrs. A.B. Sheffield and led to many other varieties, including the Betty Sheffield Supreme developed by Paul Hjort. Jane Delarber and Clare Lear are working on the Thomasville Camellia exhibit.

Delarber noted, “We are asking anyone who has a Thomasville Camellia in their yard to contact us so that we can add as many varieties as possible. Please contact me at 227-4708 or Clare Lear at 226-5316 and we will help confirm the identity of the bloom and will be happy to exhibit them.

Camellias are hardy plants and tolerate sun and partial shade. They can be planted from December-February and can be fertilized in March and September. Camellia seeds are planted in the fall.  Visitors can enjoy the newly planted Camellia Walk, which was a part of the landscape renovation completed in the fall.

Volunteers will be on hand from 7:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. on the day of the show to accept entries. The show will open to the public at 1:30 p.m. Admission is free with donations accepted to support the operation of the Garden Center.  chedules are available at the Visitors Center.

The Thomasville Garden Club, Inc. is comprised of four local garden clubs with more than 150 members.  Founded in 1914 to “to cultivate flowers, to create civic pride; to add to the beauty that nature has already so bountifully given us; to make Thomasville a more lovely place in which to live; and to foster in our children a love of the beautiful.” The Garden Club provides a number of community service projects, the most recent on in cooperation with the Hospice of Southwest Georgia where weekly flower arrangements are delivered to patients of the program. The club hosts educational activities such as the annual Food, Fun & Flowers, Arbor Day and the Camellia Show and Standard Flower Show, set for Rose Show weekend this hear.  The Thomasville Garden Club Inc. will mark 100 years this year and is led by current President Julia Singletary, with Elaine Mays, Debbie Wright, Mary Bonvillian and Delarber serving as presidents of the four garden clubs. For information on joining a club, contact Delarber, membership chair, at 226-4708.

The Thomasville Garden Center is located at 1102 Old Monticello Road. The phone number is 226-5291.