Camellia show blooms on weekend

Published 7:30 pm Thursday, February 2, 2012

Homer and Lynn Richardson may be up lateFriday night, but they won’t be out on the town.

    The couple will be in their garden, selecting the blooms they wantto enter in the 49th annual Camellia Show, hosted by the BrookhavenCamellia Society.

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    Camellia blooms, of which there are many varieties, can be enteredfrom 7:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. Saturday at the Brookhaven RecreationDepartment on Highway 51. The blooms will then be judged and theshow will open to the public from 2 until 5 p.m.

    The show will also be open for public viewing on Sunday from noonuntil 4 p.m.

    Some growers not even select the blooms they want to enter untilearly Saturday morning, the Richardsons said, but the coupledoesn’t have that luxury.

    They’ll be busy all day Saturday, as they are co-chairmen of theannual show, a post they’ve held since 2000. Their roots with theBrookhaven Camellia Society go even deeper, with 23 years ofmembership.

    The Brookhaven show is a major draw for camellia enthusiasts andwill bring a wide swath of people into Brookhaven.

    The Richardsons said visitors will come from such locations asHouston, Pensacola, Tennessee and North Carolina. There have evenbeen entries from California growers.

    The show features a number of categories, among them one forLincoln County growers and one for small growers with less than 25blooms.

    “We want to encourage our local growers,” said the couple.

    To that end, there will also be table for unidentified blooms.People can bring their camellia blooms there so that the exact typeof bloom can be identified.

    Visitors won’t just be able to look. They can also buy.

    The show also has several vendors selling blooms. Blooms will soldon Saturday only.

    “Most of them bring what I call the old standbys,” Homer Richardsonsaid. “Some will bring a few more exotic plants.”

    As many as 1,000 blooms might be entered into the show, with themost entries ever topping 1,200 blooms, according to theRichardsons.

    Those unfamiliar with the camellia might expect a little monotonyamong that many flowers, but that is not so according to thecouple.

    “I think the attractive things about them is the variety of size,color and form,” Homer Richardson said.

    The Richardsons also pointed out the versatility of the flower as apositive feature. While Home Richardson said they make goodlandscape plants, they can also be grown in pots; there areminiature camellia blooms and much larger blooms.

    “They’re very flexible plants,” Homer Richardson said.

    They also tend to be long-lived plants unless something “traumatic”happens, according to the Richardsons. They are also fairly hardy,making them ideal for the casual gardener.

    “Once they get above two years they can pretty much take anythingthat comes along,” Homer Richardson said.