My husband grows camellias. Known for his love of the Camellia sasanqua, C. japonica and his collection of approximately 150 named varieties and several hundred hybrid camellias, he was asked to participate in Georgia’s Camellia Trail.
To be listed in Georgia’s tourism brochures, our garden needed a name. We’d never labeled a yard or a house, and we found that it wasn’t an easy task. Inspired by the statuary, shrubs, bushes, vines, trees, and a spectacular variety of flowers among curving beds, we chose to call our place Eccentric Garden.
Although camellias have the big-leafed evergreen beauty of rhododendrons and Southern magnolias, a majority of camellias explode with jumbo waxy blooms, alluring flowers in shades of red, pink, and white, dazzling colors that bleed together in swirls and juicy pigments.
I will always cherish those times when my husband slips into my office when I’m writing and puts a small vase holding a freshly cut camellia on my desk, those times when I’m busy cooking and he walks in, his hands full of luscious camellias for me, those times when he takes me around the yard to show me his favorite blooms.
Most of the camellia bushes are in our front garden. Since the back, though alive with camellias along the fence lines, is naked and austere during the winter months, we’ve opened only the front garden to visitors.
Our garden is at 2610 Emory Drive, Tifton, Georgia. The front garden is open to the public January and February 2018 from 10 to 5 to give tourists and others passing through Tifton the opportunity to stop by and enjoy my husband’s collection of camellias. You are welcome to take photos. We’ll stay inside and won’t bother you. Nevermind. Cut that. I’ll stay inside and go about the business of writing and painting, but if my husband sees you he will probably walk outside and chat. If you want to see the full garden, even though it is rather raw from winter, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can make arrangements for our dogs.
Brenda Sutton Rose
Author of DOGWOOD BLUES, a novel about a small town in South Georgia near the Alapaha River.