Beauty blooms at Camellia Show

Published 6:00 am Monday, February 9, 2004

Dozens of camellia plant enthusiasts gathered in Brookhaven forthe annual Brookhaven Camellia Show at the Brookhaven RecreationDepartment Saturday.

The top awards for the show were Best Lincoln County, awarded toMike and Jeri Jinks of Brookhaven for their entry of a Maroon andGold variety bloom; Best Tom Perkins Variety, given to H.R.Northworthy of Beaumont, Texas; and Best White Bloom, awarded toLyman C. Fillingame of Purvis for his Sea Foam variety entry.

The Camellia plant, once used to make tea, is grown for itsattractive blooms, which range from one to eight inches in sizedepending on the variety of plant.

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The show is held as a competition for Camellia growers. Peoplefrom across the region come to the show and bring their best bloomsto enter in the competition.

“There are people from Texas to the east coast that come here,”said Homer Richardson, Co-Chairman of the Brookhaven CamelliaSociety, saying a reason the Brookhaven show was so popular isbecause the show is one of only a few held so late in the growingseason.

Mike Jinks, president of the society, said there are only twoshows held annually in the state, with the other being held inGulfport.

There were 1,043 blooms at the show Saturday, according toRichardson. There were several categories for flowers, including aspecial category for Lincoln County growers. Richardson said therecent cold weather has not been favorable for growing the flowers,but he was impressed with the number and quality that wereentered.

“There’s a lot of Brookhaven entries here in spite of theweather,” he said.

There were about 52 different awards given, according toRichardson. Lincoln County winners included Ed Patton, who wonSmall Growers’ Best Bloom for his entry of a Magnolia Flora, whileLenora Hunter’s Mathotiana was runner-up. Hunter also placed in theCourt of Honor for her R.L. Wheeler bloom.

There are over 50,000 named varieties of the Camellia, accordingto Richardson, including many rarely seen ones. He said there havebeen times in the past when someone brought a flower which thejudges couldn’t even confirm as a Camellia.

Blooms were judged on a few main criteria, including form, size,uniformity and leaves.

The blooms remain on display at the Brookhaven RecreationSociety until 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon. The public is invited to seethe flowers free of charge.

“(Camellias) are very easy to grow,” Richardson said. “Justwater them for about a year and after that they require little orno attention. You can spend as much or as little time as you wanton them.”