FWB CAMELLIA SHOW OFFERS MUCH FOR ENTHUSIAST, by Larry Williams UF/IFAS Extension Agent

camelliasAutumn is upon us. It is the start of the camellia blooming season that lasts from October to April. You can do several things at this time of year to help your camellia garden be at its best.

In today’s article, Fort Walton Beach Camellia Society member Joseph Jenus provides information on camellias and invites you to a camellia workshop.

Start disbudding to encourage large blooms and healthier plants. All buds other than the terminal buds should be “twisted” off.  Also, all terminal buds should be reduced to one. You will be rewarded with larger flowers and fewer partially-open or deformed blooms. Another advantage is that there will be fewer spent blooms to pick up later in the season!

The weather can get rather dry in the autumn. Remember that you plants need one inch of water a week (more if they are under big trees or in containers). Container-grown plants need watering more frequently than those growing in the ground. Generally speaking, water them two-three times a week in the absence of sufficient rainfall.

The Fort Walton Beach “official flower” is the camellia. In the City of Fort Walton Beach, camellias are featured at the Frances Brooks Pryor Memorial Garden located between U.S. Highway 98 and Brooks Street, just across from the Indian Temple Mound. Also, there are many camellias on the Temple Mound grounds itself.

The 51st Annual Camellia Show, one of the biggest of the Society’s yearly events, will be held on Saturday, November 8, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Meridian Westwood Retirement Resort, Fort Walton Beach. The show is a regional competition in which hundreds of blooms (last year, over 1,000!) are entered by members of various camellia clubs from all over the Southeast. The show, which is free to participants and viewers alike, is sanctioned by the American Camellia Society.

At the show, a limited selection of special camellias will be for sale, in addition to the availability of Gibberellic Acid for bloom stimulation. Members of the Camellia Society of Greater Fort Walton Beach will be available to answer questions on camellia care, propagation, identification, etc.

For information about the show, the Society or details and procedures for entering blooms, contact Jenus, show chairman, at 862-4526.

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