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68th annual Camellia Society Show is Saturday

The 68th annual Brookhaven Camellia Society Show is Saturday.

“We encourage all to come whether to share your blooms or to appreciate those brought by others locally or from as far away as Texas and the Carolinas,” said show chairman and BCS Pres. Bill Perkins Jr.

Brookhaven has a camellia show tradition going back to 1953 when Bill Perkins Sr. chartered the Brookhaven Camellia Society under the auspices and guidelines of the American Camellia Society.

This was done in many towns and cities across the state and beyond, but few still exist or remain active. In Mississippi, only one other than Brookhaven continues to be active to any degree. It is the Gulf Coast Camellia Society based in Gulfport but with an amalgamation of members from Pascagoula to Bay St. Louis and Waveland and all between.

Brookhaven — like so many towns and cities that enjoy only moderate winters — has an abundance of vibrant camellia bushes used as a green all-year landscape plants with their blooms bursting with color during the cooler months from September until April.

The annual show is a competition of blooms for some growers but for many simply an opportunity to display and view hundreds of blooms.

Blooms can be entered by anyone from anywhere between 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Saturday at The Event Center at The Homestead at Brookhaven Nurseries. Entrants are encouraged to try to determine the species before arriving, but not knowing won’t prevent people from bringing and entering blooms in the show. The display of blooms will be arranged by the BCS members per ACS guidelines, keeping the show consistent with other shows across the United States.

The Homestead venue, located on Hwy. 51 north of Hwy. 84, is at the former residence of Frank and Kay Burns, who operated Brookhaven Nurseries for more than 70 years. Frank Burns was renowned for his nursery and large selection of camellias, and at age 97 remains an avid fan of the flowers and member of BCS. The Frank and Kay Burns Memorial Camellia Trail runs beneath a grove of mature pines along the drive of the venue.

A plant sale will take place outside the show with a large variety of camellias and other plants, beginning at 8 a.m.

“This is an ideal opportunity to acquire nice healthy plants ready to plant before the heat of spring and summer which are just a couple of pages away on the calendar,” said Perkins.

Show entries and the public viewing from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. are free.

“Entering blooms and the public viewing are free thanks to our generous sponsors,” Perkins said. “There are prizes for winners in the competition. There are raffles for a Kay Kaberlein painting of a camellia, camellia plants and more.”

For more information, contact Perkins at 601-757-4502.