Estes wins award for best county bloom

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Shirley Estes admitted she’d gotten emotional a few times onSaturday after learning her entry had won the Don Estes Award forthe best Lincoln County Bloom at the Brookhaven Camellia Society’s44th annual Camellia Show.

“I don’t have words,” she said about winning the award, whichwas named for her late husband. “This is something we did together- football, gardening, and camellias.”

Estes, who also took home the Best Large-Very Large Hybridaward, said she always enjoys the atmosphere at the CamelliaShow.

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“Once you’re in with the camellia people, you’re like family,”she said.

And, in spite of bad weather conditions through the growingperiod, the family came from all over for this year’s show. Therewere contestants from as far away as Florida, Alabama, Louisiana,Tennessee, and Texas.

Camellia Society President Homer Richardson said the weatherconditions had cut the number of blooms entered this year in half,but that overall, the quality was as good or better than ever.

“That surprised me,” he said. “Even the outside blooms wereexcellent. Some of them even looked like inside blooms.”

The show’s major awards went to:

* Shirley Estes, of Brookhaven – Don Estes Award for BestLincoln County Bloom.

* Walter Creighton, of Semmes, Ala. –

Thomas H. Perkins III Award for the Best Tom Perkins Bloom.

* Jim and Joanne Sealy, of Huntsville, Ala. – Mrs. Hugh H. WallAward for Best White Bloom.

Other local winners included:

* Carol Burgess – Tray of Three – Same – small growers (lessthan 25 plants).

* Burgess – Tray of Three – Different – small growers (less than25 plants).

* Mike and Geri Jinks – Court of Honor – small growers.

* Shirley Estes – Best Large / Very Large UnprotectedHybrid.

* Blythe Jinks – Unprotected Japonica – small growers.

Jim Campbell, of Slidell, La., has been attending the show for10 years. Between the recent weather and Hurricane Katrina, he saidit’s been tough to raise the same quality of blooms, but thathasn’t stopped him.

“We had that bad freeze,” he said. “But I’m still here. Thisused to be my hobby, now it’s my livelihood.”

The show, held at the Brookhaven Recreation Department, willcontinue Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. The show is open to the public andattendees can register for door prizes.

“We’d like to invite everyone to attend,” said Estes. “We’re nota closed society. Even if you don’t know anything about camellias,we’ll indoctrinate you.”