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City, Perkins cited for work with flower

The efforts of the Brookhaven Camellia Society and the city ofBrookhaven recently earned the community recognition from an expertin the field of horticulture.

Norman Winter, Mississippi State University Extension Servicehorticulturist, recognized Brookhaven as deserving of a spot on theAmerican Camellia Society’s National Camellia Trail.

“If I had a vote or could nominate, I would have to include thetown of Brookhaven,” Winter said in his column in the Dec. 15edition of the Clarion-Ledger. “Brookhaven is steeped in morerecent camellia history, thanks to the late Thomas PerkinsIII.”

Perkins, of Brookhaven, served two terms as president of theInternational Camellia Society.

Perkins was always on the lookout for different varieties ofcamellias during his travels to other countries as president of thenational society. He is responsible for introducing several typesof camellias to the United States, said Homer Richardson, presidentof the Brookhaven Camellia Society.

The National Camellia Trail is expected to begin the PacificNorthwest and then go south along the coast before heading easttoward the Southeast and then north along the eastern coastline.For towns to be considered for the trail, they need to includenumerous camellia plants at both private residences and in publicplaces, like on city streets and in parks, Richardson said.

In his column, Winter made note of Brookhaven’s abundant use ofcamellias.

“Brookhaven’s historical and modern homes include camellias inthe landscapes, and the city uses them everywhere. On a recenttour, I saw camellias being planted at a church, a bank, thelibrary and the hospital,” Winter wrote.

Richardson said a spot on the camellia trail would generate someexposure for Brookhaven.

“It really encourages people to come to your area because of thesheer beauty of the plants at a time when there’s not a lot ofother stuff in bloom,” Richardson said.

Richardson said what makes the camellia unique is that itthrives in the warmer climates of the South and blooms in thewinter.

Part of camellias’ popularity is that they are easy to care for,Richardson said.

The Brookhaven Camellia Society aims to encouraged people togrow camellias, Richardson said. The organization meets the secondTuesday of the month from September through April.

“The group is aimed at propagation, growing and showingcamellias,” Richardson said.

The society also hosts an annual camellia show on the firstweekend in February at the Brookhaven Recreational Department.

For the show, people bring their camellia blooms in to be judgedand plants are sold. The show and society are open to thepublic.

Richardson said he encourages everyone to grow camellias.

“With camellias you get the best of both worlds,” Richardsonsaid. “They are easy to grow and lovely to look at.”