No matter where you live in camellia communities around America, I am certain that you can find a camellia collection that has suffered from the forces of time. Although the locations are different, the circumstances are similar. Once upon a time, this garden was cared for by a loving and knowledgeable camellia grower. It was a place where everyone in the area looked to for the very best camellias. The camellia gardener showered his children with love and knew every single one of them by name. Sometimes there would be tags on these camellia children, and other times there would be no tags because the camellia grower did not need these tags. In many instances, things changed when the caretaker of these camellia children possibly moved away. In other cases, the camellia gardener’s health began to decline. Sometimes death separated these camellias from their camellia parents. All of these scenarios seem so sad, but they are common threads that we see every day as we search for our lost loves. So much is lost, but still so much more is waiting to be found!
Johnny Aldrich of Brooklet, Georgia was a local postman with a passion for growing camellias. On the side, he had a small camellia nursery next to his house where he propagated and sold many of his favorites to gardeners in his area. During the time that Johnny was growing registered varieties, he grew many camellias from seed, and he named about twenty varieties after friends and family. This featured variety in this column is one of Johnny’s introductions called ‘Lisa Adele Shuman’. It was named after one of his granddaughters, and it is a spectacular late blooming camellia. This was one of the lost loves that we found hiding in plain sight in Johnny’s old garden. There are many more lost loves waiting for you to find them in your community. Please get out there, and help us look and email photographs of your discoveries to me at email@example.com.
Gene Phillips has a passion for camellia preservation and writes a regular feature column for the American Camellia Society’s Camellia Journal. To read more of these columns, join the American Camellia Society by visiting their website at www.americancamellias.com