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Camellia show to honor ‘volunteer of volunteers’

Budding friendships made at the annual Brookhaven Camellia Show kept Homer Richardson coming back year after year.

For 18 years, Richardson — along with his wife Lynn — worked diligently to make sure the event was a blooming success. This year, the 56th annual show will be dedicated to the memory of the longtime camellia enthusiast, former BCS president and show chairman who died July 23.

Bob Naeger, a four-time past president, can’t say enough good things about Richardson, who he met 12 years ago after moving to Brookhaven and joining the society.

“He was a camellia lover through and through and a friend to everybody,” Naeger said. “Homer was the volunteer of volunteers. He was always busy, always doing something. The camellia society would not have made it all these years without Homer. We couldn’t do enough to thank him for all of his work and his life’s work of volunteering everywhere he went.”

This year’s show will be Saturday and it’s making the move from the Brookhaven Recreation Center to The Homestead at Brookhaven Nurseries on Hwy. 51.

It’s free to enter and attend.

Blooms will be accepted from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. Judging commences soon after and is over by 2 p.m.

Public viewing will be from 2 to 5 p.m.

A youth category is available for students in kindergarten through 12th-grade, said BCS President Bill Perkins.

There will also be an area for camellia growers to bring blooms to be identified.

The Mizell Camellia Nursery of Folsom, Louisiana, will make a return appearance with a trailer filled with potted camellias for sale.

Naeger said the cold weather may cause some issues for the local growers — camellia blooms don’t do well in freezing temperatures — but he still expects to see hundreds of blooms entered. The Brookhaven show is one of the largest around and will attract growers from several states.

“We always seem to get a cold snap every year the week or two before the show and it suffers,” he said.

He and his wife, Renee, checked on their plants at their Brookhaven home Wednesday morning.

“They look like they’ve fared pretty well. It really needs to be down to the mid-20s or lower before it does a whole lot of damage. They just brown out. So I hope, I’m optimistic to think that if they were somewhat protected we’re still going to get quite a few blooms from the Lincoln County area.”

Many of the participants travel from Southern areas like Baton Rouge and New Orleans in Louisiana and Pensacola, Florida, and the Gulf Coast.

“They all should have fared just fine so we should have plenty of blooms, we just may have some damaged blooms from the Lincoln County group,” he said.