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Camellia Society hosts annual show

Dozens of Camellia growers showed up Saturday for the 42ndannual Brookhaven Camellia Show, hosted by the Brookhaven CamelliaSociety.

Growers from across the southeast region gathered for the eventat the Brookhaven Recreation Department, bringing nearly 1,200blooms to enter into competition.

“We had a wonderful turnout and the largest number of bloomsyet,” said Mike Jinks, President of the Brookhaven CamelliaSociety.

Many awards were competed for by growers who grew hundreds ofplants at a time, including separate categories for those grown ingreenhouses and those grown unprotected from the elements. Aseparate category is also offered for small-time and localgrowers.

“We have a smaller category for people that grow just a fewplants for them to be able to compete and have fun,” said HomerRichardson, co-show chairman of the society.

According to Richardson, 1194 blooms were entered intocompetition.

“That’s a good amount. This is the largest we’ve had in the pastfew years. Almost 1,200 blooms is great, considering the weatherwe’ve had in the past few weeks,” said Richardson, adding thatrecent rain and cold snaps would have had an effect on the plantsand the number of blooms that would have been fit forcompetition.

Jinks said the Brookhaven show is one of the largest in theregion, and is one of only two in Mississippi held each year, withthe other held in Gulfport.

“One reason this show is so popular is because it’s held late inthe growing season,” said Jinks.

Richardson agreed, saying some of the out-of-state participantsin this year’s event came from Alabama, Tennessee, Florida,Louisiana and Texas.

Richardson said that many of the distant growers are competitionjudges that travel to many different competitions through theyear.

“The judges bring blooms with them and also judge the show,”Richardson said. He added that judges are assigned to categories inwhich they do not compete so that they will not judge their ownentries.

New to the show this year is the Don Estes Award, which isformerly the Best Lincoln County Bloom award. Don Estes, who was aBrookhaven alderman, was active with the Brookhaven CamelliaSociety, according to Jinks. The award was renamed in honor ofEstes, who died in office last year.

“Don was very involved with the club. You didn’t see him in thelimelight, but he was always working behind the scenes. After hepassed away, we felt it was a way to honor him,” said Jinks.

The Camellias will be available for free public viewing againSunday from noon until 4 p.m.

Out of the 49 final awards given at the show, Lynn Richardson ofBrookhaven won Unprotected Hybrid Best Bloom for her entry of aFreedom Bell. Ed Patten of Hazlehurst won Best Bloom and Runner Upin the Small Growers Unprotected Japonica category, as well asbeing awarded several honorable mentions.

Jinks won the Don Estes Award for his entry of a MagnaliaeFlora.

A separate award for Best Tom Perkins bloom was given to WalterCreighton of Semmes, Ala. The Tom Perkins variety of Camellia wasnamed in honor of Brookhaven resident and Camellia grower TomPerkins.