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46th Camellia show set for Feb. 7-8

It may just be starting to feel like Spring off and on inBrookhaven, but the minds of green thumbs all over town are focusedon flowers.

Camellias, to be exact.

With the 46th annual Camellia Show coming up on February 7 and8, Camellia aficionados are gearing up for the yearly event thatBrookhaven is famous for and to welcome Camellia lovers from acrossthe country.

Camellia Society member and former president Lynn Richardsonsaid the event this year will bring its usual conglomeration oftravelers from the east coast to the west. Richardson said there iseven a show judge from Pennsylvania who may be on the way toBrookhaven to check out the foliage.

“We have in the past had a couple from North Carolina, we’ve gotTennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida,” she said. “We also havesome from Louisiana and Texas, and even some from California. Butwe probably have the southern east coast covered.”

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.

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. Saturday and on Sunday from noon until 4 p.m.at the Brookhaven Recreation Department.

And all those out-of-town visitors will descend on Brookhavenready to judge the entries in the Brookhaven Camellia Show, butalso ready to enjoy what has become known as one of the most funshows for what Camellia growers refer to as “almost family.” Onereason for the fun, Richardson said, is that the showgoers try tomix a little more pleasure with the flower business.

“We eat like starving buzzards every year,” she said. “We do agood job with Friday night judges’ dinner, and at the show we havea great hospitality room with all the baked goods we love somuch.”

Camellia Society Treasurer Mike Jinks said the show is a goodopportunity for people who are interested in flowers, but perhapsnot as educated as they’d like to be to learn more about thebeautiful evergreen plants that the society has dedicated itselfto.

“You’ll get to see a lot of pretty flowers and we’ll have plantsfor sale,” Jinks said, adding that the sale will begin around 7:30a.m. Saturday. “We’ll have all kinds of information about Camelliasand growing them available, and a lot of growers will be there toanswer questions.”

And the society’s love for the flower has extended to the cityof Brookhaven as well, as several Sasanqua trees can be seen in thedowntown area, both in planters and growing freely in RailroadPark.

Camellia enthusiast and Ward Four Alderwoman Shirley Estes saidthe trees were chosen for their overall versatility anddurability.

“The Bradford pears that were there had outgrown their space andthe roots were compromising the sidewalks and the sewer and watersystems, plus debris was falling on vehicles,” Estes said. “Wechose the Sasanquas because they’re evergreen and they grow alittle smaller. Plus, they’re a wonderfully blooming,low-maintenance tree that can survive well.”