02-22-12-camellia-show.jpgThe 66th Annual Fayetteville Camellia Show will be held March 3-4, at the new $6.5 million visitor’s complex of the Cape Fear Botanical Garden. Last year, more then 300 enthusiasts attended the camellia show comprised of more than 1,100 blooms.

“Having all these blooms in a centralized location will be a spectacular sight,” Jack Demar, of the Fayetteville Camellia Club.

The event is open and free for the public from noon to 5 p.m., during which time there will be blooms on display, educational seminars and camellias for sell.

“By having the event at the Botanical Garden, we are hoping to combine the audience of avid gardeners and interested newcomers,” explained Demar.

Cape Fear Botanical Garden will offer visitors activities to complement the camellia show. “Guided tours along the dappled shade paths of the Camellia Garden will showcase a colorful display of blooms,” Meg Suraci, assistant director of development and marketing, Cape Fear Botanical Garden, said. Children are invited to the Build-a-Camellia table to craft a flower to take home as a token of spring.

Prizes will be awarded in 25 different categories, including novice. Acclaimed members of the National Camellia Society will judge the blooms. The competition is open to everyone. To enter, bring blooms to the site between 7:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 3. Judging will take place from 10 a.m. to noon.

The show has a large draw, not just from people in the local area. Camellia growers from Virginia to Georgia travel to enter their blooms in the Fayetteville Camellia Show. Demar explains that he gets a thrill out of seeing local people displaying and winning awards for their blooms in such strong competition.

Camellias are known for adding color to the often-dreary, bleak winter scenery because of the blooming season from October to April. More than 12 varieties of top-quality camellia plants will be sold at the event along with a how-to care guide created by the Fayetteville Camellia Club.

Cape Fear Botanical Garden is part of the Camellia Trail, which celebrates the rich history of camellias. Forty-one different gardens from Massachusetts, down the east coast, to Texas and several on the West Coast highlight this blooming flower that is known for bringing joy as far back as almost 5,000 years ago in China.

Admission to the Cape Fear Botanical Garden is $8. Admission to the garden provides access to 77-acres of pine and hardwood forest and natural areas of the region’s indigenous plants, trees and wildlife. The cultivated garden areas showcase more than 2,000 varieties of ornamental plants, and include Daylily, Camellia and Hosta gardens. The Camellia Garden features more than 300 plants. If attending the Camellia Show a $2 discount on admission to the garden will be given.

“Beauty is precious and necessary, and does not need to be rare. Underlying our club’s mission is this simple fact: Anyone can grow a camellia, but most people don’t know it. We can help,” said Finely Bryan, Fayetteville Camellia Club president.

Photo: Camellias take centerstage at the 66th Annual Fayetteville Camellia Show.

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