BR Camellia Society to hold flower show this weekend

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

The Baton Rouge Camellia Society has scheduled its Annual Camellia Show for Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 8 and 9, at the LSU Rural Life Museum, 4560 Essen Lane at I-10. Judging of the American Camellia Society-sponsored show is closed, but the exhibit is open to the public and free 1-4:30 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday.

Exhibitors are invited to submit bloom entries to the show 7-10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 8. There are special categories for local growers with 25 plants or less, varieties introduced prior to 1900 and those varieties that were introduced by Vi and Hank Stone of Baton Rouge, in addition to categories for Japonicas, Other Species, Best White and more.

About 1,000 blooms are expected to be on exhibit at the show, and there also will be camellias available for purchase. Proceeds from the sales support the Burden Museum & Gardens, which includes the LSU Rural Life Museum, the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens at Burden and Windrush Gardens.

The show chair is Gerald Phares, and he can be reached at (225) 261-3123 or chegwood@gmail.com. The judging panel co-chairs are Gerald Phares and Joe Holmes. For more information, contact Kenn Campbell at (225) 923-1697 or kennbc@cox.net.

The Baton Rouge Camellia Society (BRCS) is affiliated with the American Camellia Society. It was formed in the 1970's by three men. BRCS has since grown to a membership of more than 200, with 10 to 15 members participating weekly in camellia work at the society's nursery at the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens. BRCS promotes growing camellias and teaches horticultural practices related to growing camellias, including propagation and cultivar identification.

BRCS played a major role in the relocation of almost 500 camellia plants from the Vi and Hank Stone’s camellia garden in Baton Rouge to the Botanic Gardens at Burden in 2002, 2003 and 2004. This camellia collection is somewhat unique in that it is made up of camellia cultivars/germ plasm from all around the world, which Vi Stone collected during her lifetime of international travels. The Vi and Hank Stone camellia garden is now known as the Vi and Hank Stone Memorial Camellia Collection at the Botanic Gardens. BRCS provided advice which helped make the move possible, and helped organize the replanting of these plants into garden rooms of like kinds.

Today, BRCS propagates about 1,000 camellia grafts annually at the Botanic Gardens. Half of the proceeds from the sale of these camellias are donated to Botanic Gardens for the support of the Vi and Hank Stone Camellia Collection.

Dr. Trent James provides leadership to one of BRCS's significant community outreach activities. He and several society Camellians (BRCS SWAT Team members) frequently go to private gardens to help with variety identification and provide information on best growing practices.

For more information about the show or the society, visit http://www.camellias-acs.com/display.aspx?catid=7,125,196&pageid=607 or www.facebook.com/brcamellias.