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Camellias in bloom for 45th annual show

Brookhaven’s 45th annual Camellia Show, one of the largestCamellia shows in the South, will be a grand affair as always,officials say.

The weekend show, which has many categories for the manydifferent types of Camellias, will sport around 50 judges fromsurrounding states, said Brookhaven Camellia Society PresidentHomer Richardson.

“We’re also expecting some pretty good blooms if the weatherholds out here,” he said. “We ought to have some good ones fromlocal people, and we encourage people to enter their blooms.”

Richardson said entrants will begin bringing their entries asearly as 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, and will prepare and fill out theentry cards until around 11 a.m. The show will then be open to thepublic from 2-5 p.m. and on Sunday from 12-4 p.m. at the BrookhavenRecreation Department.

Society officials said it doesn’t take a serious grower toenter. Richardson said he himself became a Camellia aficionadoalmost by accident.

“We got involved because my wife (Lynn) won a Camellia at thefirst show she attended in 1989,” he said. “From that one plant nowwe have some 75 or more different plants we’ve accumulated.”

Camellia Society Treasurer Mike Jinks said the show is worthseeing, even for those not in the Camellia business.

“I’d encourage everyone to come to the show,” he said. “If youenter or not, just come enjoy the flowers.”

Officials said past shows have had as many as 1,200 blooms, withcategories for indoor and outdoor blooms, as well as a categoryspecifically for Lincoln County growers.

“You can enter in as many different categories as you want,”said Jinks.

The popularity of the flower, Richardson said, is based in parton the ease with which they bloom in Southern climates.

“They’re easy to grow and low maintenance, but they’re perfectfor this area down here. Our climate is great,” he said. “We mayget some cold, but give them a few days to bloom and they’re doinggreat again.”

Jinks said while the recent snow was a consideration in thisyear’s crop, it shouldn’t have done too much damage.

“Extreme cold will mess the blooms up, but as long as they’re inbuds the weather won’t get them too bad,” he said.” If they’re openand it snows, they’ll brown up and be bit. But if you get severaldays between harsh weather, you still have the opportunity to havegood blooms .”

Jinks and Richardson said there will be a vendor on handSaturday selling potted Camellia plants to anyone interested.

“Sometimes people will come in with specific ones they want tofind, and sometimes they go rather quickly through the day,”Richardson said.