Community - February 2, 2011

Camellia Society stages its 50th annual show

Celebrating its golden anniversary, the San Francisco Peninsula Camellia Society will hold its 50th annual show and sale on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 12-13, at the Community Activities Building, 1400 Roosevelt Ave. in Redwood City.

The show, which is free and open to the public, will feature more than 1,000 camellia blooms, a sale of new and hard-to-find camellia plants, and a workshop on rejuvenating old camellias.

Show hours are noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. There will be free blooms at the end of the show.

The public may enter blooms in the show between 8 and 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 12. Camellia Society members will be on hand to help prepare the blooms, which will be judged later that morning. Forty trophies will be awarded.

A highlight of the show will be a workshop led by professional gardener Gene Fleet, who will show how to prune, pot, and plant neglected camellias. It is set for 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Caroline Beverstock, Camellia Society president, says the show provides an opportunity for "people who are intrigued by camellias to learn about these plants, which are so suited to our area." At her home in Atherton, Ms. Beverstock tends camellias, planted by her mother 60 years ago, at the home she inherited. A member of Friends of Filoli, she is a docent for its camellia and fruit tree collections, as well as the house and garden in general.

What was then called the Peninsula Camellia Society was launched in San Mateo in 1961 by a dozen members. It affiliated with the American Camellia Society and later joined neighboring groups to form the Northern California Camellia Council. The groups set dates for shows on different weekends each February and March, when camellias are at the peak of bloom. Many camellia growers travel the circuit, entering blooms in each show and serving as judges and clerks if needed, says a society spokesman.

The society's Best Bloom in Show trophy honors the late John Houghton Hall, who died as a young man, while serving as president of the group in the late 1970s. The Best Novice Japonica trophy honors the late Howard Oliver, who started a public garden of camellias, rhododendrons, and azaleas at the USGS in Menlo Park, where he was a geophysicist.

The Camellia Society donates plants to public gardens and parks throughout the Peninsula. It also rescues plants at risk of destruction and that need to be relocated. In 2005, it coordinated the transfer of a large Woodside collection to sites at Stanford University and Strybing Arboretum.

The annual show is the local society's major event. In early years, it was held in various cities. Now it is co-sponsored by the Redwood City Parks and Recreation Department. For more information about the show, call Linda Kancev at 574-1220.


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