Camellia show brings a beautiful glow to mall

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A vacant store in Aiken Mall hinted at the coming beauty of springtime as more than 1,100 blooms were showcased in the 56th annual Aiken Camellia Show.

"It's not a real big show for us, but we are pleased with all of these blooms that showed up," said Lee Poe, a co-chairman of the Jan. 17-18 show.

Camellia growers from Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina submitted flowers.

Many varieties and styles of the winter flowers were entered in the competition. From miniature to large, the camellias came in varying shades of red, pink and white. Some were variegated.

A new category in this year's show was an antique camellia, a variety that was named before 1900.

Ron Wolfe, of Albany, Ga., brought several of his blooms to the show.

"I've been coming here 10 to 12 years," said Mr. Wolfe, whose camellias didn't fare as well this year as they have in the past. The weather didn't cooperate this year, and he said he probably should have started treating his camellias earlier in the season.

Mr. Wolfe, who has about 400 camellias in his yard, takes his flowers to shows each weekend during January and February.

Award-winning flowers were divided into two overall categories, those grown in the open and those grown in greenhouses.

Buck and Tyler Mizzell won several awards, including the Tom and Dottie Evans Award for best bloom in show, the Paul and Marie Dahlen Award for medium and large/very large blooms and best reticulata. Julia Leisenring won the Dahlen Award in the small category.

Gerry and Bonnie Serpas won the Jim Stutts Award for japonica grown in the open in the small and large/very large category, and Johnnie Walker won the award for medium-size blooms.

The Serpas also won best hybrid and best antique bloom. Mr. Walker also won best miniature in the open division, and Ms. Leisenring won best miniature grown in a protected environment.

Annabelle and Lew Fetterman won the best white japonica.

Jed Alexander won best bloom by a novice exhibitor. Mack McKinnon won best seedling.

Reach Charmain Brackett at charmain.brackett@ augustachronicle.com.

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