Gainesville Camellia Society---Florida


Camellia Names

by GCS Member --- Sandra Williams

But what about all those other names, names which you have never heard of until you go to a camellia show or visit a large camellia garden. Who was Professor Charles S. Sargent? Who was Margaret Davis? Who was Governor Mouton? Who was Prince Eugene Napoleon? Who was Rev. John Bennett or Rev. John Drayton? And on and on and on.

Even more intriguing are those varieties which bear only a single name, such as Charlean. Who inspired the names Little Michael, Little Ruby, Little David, Little Joy, Little Susie? Who was Dr. Bob or Dr. Ed or Dr. John? Then there are Julie and Julia; Mary Lu and Mary Jo; Helen G and Helen B and Helen K; Dusty, and Doreen and Dorian; Grace, Margie, Ginger, Samantha, Wilamina, Sheila , and countless others.

Have you ever wondered about the names of our camellia varieties? I find the names fascinating. Some of the varieties are given the names of people who have worked in camellias, breeding them, promoting them, growing them. Some are named for family or friends or famous people who had impressed those who produced the new variety. Some of those names have become familiar to us without us really knowing anything about them.

Some of the names we know from reading the "Camellia Journals" and yearbooks. Dr. Clifford Parks, Bill Woodroof, Charlie Bettes, John Illges, Dave Strother, Betty Sheffield, and others, too numerous to list. Then there are the people we have been privileged to know personally. Among them are Ann Blair Brown, Ivan Mitchell, Jane Griffin, Henry Lunsford, Annabelle Fetterman , June Norman, and Delores Edwards.

There are many varieties named for people who are famous outside the camellia world: Bob Hope, Delores Hope, Gen. George Patton, Pope John XXIII, Neil Armstrong, Paulette Goddard, Richard Nixon, Pat Nixon, and both their daughters, governors, princes, queens, and others.

Even more intriguing are those varieties which bear only a single name, such as Charlean. Who inspired the names Little Michael, Little Ruby, Little David, Little Joy, Little Susie? Who was Dr. Bob or Dr. Ed or Dr. John? Then there are Julie and Julia; Mary Lu and Mary Jo; Helen G and Helen B and Helen K; Dusty, and Doreen and Dorian; Grace, Margie, Ginger, Samantha, Wilamina, Sheila , and countless others.

Today I want to look at some of the names of varieties which are not namesakes of people. How about "Les-Tay-Home." (Leave it to Sandra to talk about a miniature first.) This little miniature red and white peony must have been named by someone who feels as I do, that home is a wonderful place to be and sometime I would just rather say to Laddie "Les-tay-home" today. Maybe that was how Dr. Taylor felt, like enough is enough. The flowers are beautiful and I just want to stay here and walk among my own flowers.

Or how about the family of Nuccio flowers, Kick Off, Touchdown, and Cheerleader. I wonder who his favorite team was. Was he thinking about high school, college, or the pros, USC, UCLA, the 49'ers??? Being a sports fan, and especially a football fan, we could certainly use these to honor our Gators or your Seminoles, or Tigers, or whoever. And don't forget about baseball: Grand Slam and Minor League (another miniature).

Who was Mr. Ashby thinking of when he named that pretty pink "Love Letters"? Was he thinking of someone in particular or was Mr. Ashby a hopeless romantic who associated pretty pink flowers with "Love Letters"?

How about those other romantics who named camellias "Dearest", "My Darling", "Sweetheart", "Sweet Sixteen", "Darling Pink", "Honey Pie", and "Cutey Pie"? Or the non-romantic choices such as "Dante's Inferno," "Wrong", "Conflagration", or "Thunderhead"?

Then there are the ones who look to the skies for inspiration when looking for a name and they came up with sunrises and sunsets (looking at the sky or remembering "Fiddler on the Roof"), stars (bright, burst, fire, shadow, dust), moons, (light, glow, flower), a rainbow, and clouds.

There are many places mentioned, South Seas, Mountain View, Tahiti, Memphis, Mississippi, Georgia, Orlando, Sacramento, Pasadena, Charleston, Louisiana, and, of course, Florida.

Royalty is big with many kings, queens, princes, and princesses and other royal folk named specifically and then there are Tiny Princess, King Size, King's Ransom, Queen's Escort, Little Princess, White King.

Clothing: tutus, caps, gowns, dresses.

Music: rhapsodies, waltzes, rhythms,.

Other flowers: water lily, tulips, orchids, dahlias, roses, daffodils, magnolias, poppies.

Sweets: Lollypop, Bon Bon, Pink Parfait, Cherries Jubilee, Candy Cane.

Holidays: Palm Sunday, Easter Morn, Christmas Bells, Valentine's Day, New Year.

Birds: Owl Face, Flamingo, Egret, The Swan, Red Eagle, Canary.

So, let's "Smile", send a "Donation" to "Massee Lane" and "Tiptoe" into a "Summer Sunset" as we sing a "Song of Paris" and bid "Sayonara" to our "Dearest" friends with "Fanfare" and "Grandeur".

But what about all those other names, names which you have never heard of until you go to a camellia show or visit a large camellia garden. Who was Professor Charles S. Sargent? Who was Margaret Davis? Who was Governor Mouton? Who was Prince Eugene Napoleon? Who was Rev. John Bennett or Rev. John Drayton? And on and on and on.

Walter Bellingrath
Dr Judge
Betty Sheffield
Professor Sargent
Dr Parks

Walter Bellingrath

by GCS Member --- Sandra Williams

In 1955 Longview Nursery in Crichton, Alabama, submitted a Camellia for registration. It was light pink which changes to rose pink. Its blooms varied from loose peony to anemone. It was to be called Walter D. Bellingrath. in honor of the man, Walter Duncan Bellingrath who had died.

Walter Bellingrath moved with his family to southeastern Alabama in 1880. In 1917, on the recommendation from his physician that he learn to play, Bellingrath bought a fishing camp near Mobile, Alabama. Bellcamp, as it was first called, started out with three dilapidated houses and an overgrown jungle of magnolia trees, moss-draped live oaks, bays, pines, and other southern trees. By December 1918, the buildings had been refurbished and paths were cleared enough for the first house party to be held.

Walter and Bessie Bellingrath had no children but both came from large families and had many friends who attended many parties at Bellcamp. After about 10 years the Bellingraths began to dream of flowers blooming along the curving trails They visited famous garden in Europe.

Azaleas were moved from their city home to the fishing lodge at Bellcamp. Landscape architects and gardeners were consulted. Wherever they traveled, they sought out gardens and new ideas for the development of their gardens.

It was during this time of the development of the gardens at Bellcamp that Walter and his brother William secured the rights to bottle and distribute Coca Cola, an unknown beverage, in Montgomery and Mobile. Williams stayed in Montgomery and Walter moved to Mobile where he made a fortune with his soft drink franchise.

Mrs. Bellingrath helped out many impoverished families by purchasing antiques, knickknacks, furniture, and plants from people who lived in and around the Mobile area. There was much interest in the building and planting going on at Bellcamp. In 1932 Mr. and Mrs. Bellingrath opened the gardens for the first time for the public to visit. They were overwhelmed by the response.

In 1939 the building which now houses The Delchamps Gallery of Boehm Porcelain was built as a guest house over a five-car garage. It now houses one of the largest collections of Boehm Porcelain in the world.

Mrs. Bellingrath died in 1943. On August 6, 1949, at his 80th birthday party, Walter Bellingrath made an announcement that he had formed a foundation into which all of his assets had been placed, including ownership of the Gardens. The foundation was to take over and insure the Gardens' continuance for generations to come. Six years later he left the Gardens for the last time, he died on August 5, 1955.

At the time of his death he was President of Mobile's Coca Cola Bottling Plant, he presided over the Lerio Corporation, was Vice President of the Mobile Warehousing Company, Vice President of Coca Cola of Frisco City, AL, a director of the First National Bank of Mobile, a director of the Y.M.C.A., to name just a few of his activities.

If you are ever in the Mobile area during camellia season, be sure to go see the Bellingrath Gardens and its 2000 camellias. Among the 400 varieties you will see there are Bessie Morse Bellingrath, named for Mrs. Bellingrath, September Morn, K. Sawada, Pink Star, Gigantea, Daikagura, Donckelari, and Mathotiana. Bellingrath Gardens are open year round with spectacular displays for blooms at all times of the year. Don't miss it.

(The information for this article was found in The American Camellia Yearbook, 1947, and information gleaned from the World Wide Web including the Bellingrath Gardens website,

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by GCS Member --- Sandra Williams

K. Sawada is a large white formal to rose form double japonica. It was developed at Overlook Nursery in Mobile, Alabama in 1940. K. Sawada, the man was born in Osaka, Japan on October 21, 1882. Kosaku Sawada has influenced the camellia world in many ways.

Kosaku Sawada was brought to the United States of America by a Mr. Mykawa, an official representative of the Japanese government to the 1904 World Exposition in St. Louis. Mr. Mykawa was interested in promoting rice farming near Houston, Texas and recruited four young men from Japan to join him in his efforts to establish the Texas rice industry. Kosaku Sawada was one of those four young men. Unfortunately, Mr. Mykawa was killed in a farming accident during the first year of this venture. The four young men tried to bring Mr. Mykawa's dream to fruition but were unable to do so.

When this failure was acknowledged, Mr. Sawada and some of his countrymen began importing satsuma oranges and a number of other plants from Japan and started the Alvin-Japanese Nursery in Alvin, Texas. After several successful years in Texas, K. Sawada moved to Grand Bay, Alabama and started a nursery. His primary interest was in growing citrus and pecan trees, but ornamental shrubs and especially camellias were high on his list of interests. The first camellia seeds planted at this nursery were brought from Japan by Mrs. Sawada when she moved to the U.S. in 1916.

In 1918, Mr. Sawada's nursery, Overlook Nurseries, was moved to a location which overlooked the city of Mobile, Alabama. K. Sawada's plant breeding efforts produced many popular varieties of japonicas, sasanquas, azaleas, magnolias, amaryllis, and other plants. He worked at taking varieties that he liked but that would not do well near Mobile and cross breeding them with varieties that did do well there. He produced for the Mobile growers varieties of camellias, Japanese flowering cherries, and other plants that were well adapted to the area.

If you have access to the early yearbooks of the American Camellia Society, you will find many articles written by Mr. Sawada. The subject of most of these articles has some connection with propagating camellias. He was also a frequent speaker at camellia societies throughout the United States. Although he was a quiet man, he could talk for hours about camellias. Some of his articles are:

1947 - My Experience With Camellia Seedlings

1948 - Storing Camellia Pollen

1949 - My Wishes for the Camellia of the Future

1952 - How to Make Camellia Seedlings Bloom in Two Years

1953 - Some Facts About Camellias Described by a Grower

1965 - The Sawadas and Their Camellias

Mr. Kosaku Sawada died in 1968, but he lives on in the gardens of thousands of camellia growers through the many varieties he developed. These include:

K. Sawada Pink Herme

Mrs. K. Sawada Blush Hibiscus

Imura Liberty Bell

Frizzle White Shiro Botan

Lurie's Favorite Tricolor Superba

White Empress.

Sawada's Dream was the first flower he selected from cross pollinated seedlings. It was introduced in the 1959 Overlook catalog. This white formal double is shaded with a very delicate flesh pink. It is about four inches across. The 80 - 90 petals incurve at the edges and overlap forming a waterlily shape. This flower is outstanding for its superior holding quality, one of the characteristics he tried to breed into some of the popular varieties. Sawada's Dream was truly the fulfillment of the dream of a man who sought to produce the best varieties possible from careful cross-breeding of existing varieties.

To find out more about this man, his articles, and his registered varieties, read his article, "The Sawadas and Their Camellias" in the 1965 ACS yearbook and his son's article, "Camellia Personality, Kosaku Sawada" in the 1993 ACS yearbook.

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Dr. Judge

by GCS Member --- Sandra Williams

Dr. Judge, the flower, is a blush pink semi-double Japonica that has darker pink edges and the reverse of the petals are darker pink. This cultivar grows at an average rate into an upright bush. It blooms mid-season to late. W. Howard Smith of our own Gainesville Camellia Society registered it.

Dr. Judge is my nickname for Dr. Howard Smith. He and Mary Ruth had dinner with us one night right after he had become a certified judge for the American Camellia Society. He jokingly said that he would like to be called Dr. Judge since he had reached this high level of achievement. The next time I saw him, I called him Dr. Judge and have ever since.

Dr. Judge, William Howard Smith, was born in Madison County, Florida. He was educated in the schools in Madison, Florida. He graduated from the University of Florida with a BS in agriculture. This was followed by a M.Ed. from the University of Florida and D.Ed. from Louisiana State University.

After spending two years in Germany with the U.S. Army, Dr. Smith returned to the Madison area and got real friendly with a girl from nearby Cherry Lake. Mary Ruth Cowart and William Howard Smith were married in 1953.

Howard taught Vo-Ag at White Springs for a while then joined the Agricultural Extension Service and worked in rural area development in Live Oak. He went back to school at LSU. Howard and family moved to Gainesville, Florida, in January 1970. Howard became the District Director for the Extension Service from Perry to Monticello. He later served 17 counties from Levy to Nassau and Duval. In 1985, he retired from the Extension Service.

Howard and Mary Ruth have a son, Bill, born in 1959, and a daughter, Nancy, born in 1962. Nancy has two children, Jennifer and Jackie.

Howard and Mary Ruth have been active in the Gainesville Camellia Society. Howard is a past president of the society. Since becoming "Dr. Judge", he has served as a judge at many of the Camellia shows around the state. He has made his garden available to many growers who want to increase their Camellia stock. He is generous with scions and with allowing others to put air-layers on his many plants. Last year the GCS was invited to come out and learn to air-layer by actually putting air-layers on some of his plants.

Besides registering the cultivar, Dr. Judge, Howard has also registered Jenny D, Jackie D., Crazy Sue, and Mary Ruth Smith.

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Betty Sheffield

by GCS Member --- Sandra Williams

The flower, Betty Sheffield, was named for the woman who planted the seed and grew the first Betty Sheffield. She realized she had a special flower the first time it bloomed and took it to the nurseryman from whom she had bought her first Camellia plant for it to be propagated and distributed commercially. Since then there have been many mutations of the Betty Sheffield, pinks, whites, streaks, fringes, you name it and Betty Sheffield has probably done it. Probably the best known Betty is the Betty Sheffield Supreme. However the favorite of Betty Sheffield (the lady) was the Funny Face Betty.

Betty Sheffield came to Florida on a vacation visit as Miss Elsbeth Pannkoke in 1916. On the way she visited with friends in Quitman, GA. At a party given in her honor in Quitman, she met a gentleman, named Albert Sheffield. A year later they were married in Milwaukee, WI.

What an adjustment the move to Quitman was. Betty Sheffield was of German descent and America was at war with Germany. She had lived in Milwaukee and the adjustment to the South Georgia climate was a big one. She grew up being active. Among her hobbies were ice skating, tennis and hiking.

Albert Sheffield died in 1930 and Betty started on a new phase of her life. She went back to school, first at Valdosta State College, Chapel Hill in North Carolina, and a year at Emory University in Atlanta where she studied French, Spanish, and contemporary literature. It was about this same time that she started to get involved with Camellias. A neighbor introduced her to Camellias and she "went hog-wild" attending workshops at the University of Florida and the University of Georgia, learned to propagate them, planted seeds, and eventually had over 300 plants in her garden.

During the depression, Betty Sheffield spent time working with young people as a volunteer with the National Youth Administration. She taught them about plants and propagating them. She also worked for the City of Quitman, Georgia as City Landscape Designer, without pay.

When she was presented an award by the American Camellia Society in 1967, the nurseryman who sold her her first Camellia said, "Betty Sheffield has set an example of radiant living and is just the right kind of person to start a chain of radiant Camellias."

Betty Sheffield is a medium to large white semi-double to peony-shaped bloom that is striped and blotched red and pink. The chain of radiant Camellias includes: Bettys Beauty, Funny Face Betty, Lucky Seven, Blond Betty, Betty By George, Bettys Pink Organdie, Betty Sheffield Blush, B.S. Blush Supreme, B.S. Coral, B.S. Pink, B.S. Dawn, B.S. Dream, B.S. Silver, B.S. White, B.S. Variegated, and, of course the every popular Betty Sheffield Supreme.

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Professor Sargent

by GCS Member --- Sandra Williams

The man, Professor Charles S. Sargent, was born in 1841 and died in 1927. He was Professor of Arboriculture at Harvard and Director of the Arnold Arboretum in Boston until his death. He was known as the greatest dendrologist (one who studies trees) America had ever produced. The grounds of the Arnold Arboretum were planned and designed by Charles S. Sargent, in collaboration with the landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted as part of Boston's Emerald Necklace park system.

Charles Sprague Sargent was Arnold Arboretum's first director and served the institution for over 54 years. The child of Henrietta Gray and Ignatius Sargent, a successful Boston merchant, banker, and railroad financier, Sargent had the opportunity to pursue a career in science and horticulture. After graduating from Harvard College and serving in the Union army, Sargent spent his first horticultural years abroad touring the gardens of Europe and then at home managing the family estate and gardens of Holm Lea. As a prominent member of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society and an elected trustee of the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture, Sargent's activities continued to expand. He was appointed director of Harvard's Botanic Garden in 1872. In 1873 he was appointed the first director of the Arnold Arboretum.

During the years that Charles Sargent served as Director of the Arboretum, it grew from the original 120 acres to 250 acres. Sargent also continued his own research and writing. He wrote many books including Silva of North America, Trees of North America, and Forest Flora of Japan. He also served as editor for the journal, Garden and Forest.

Besides collecting plants and specimens, Sargent also acquired books and journals for the Arboretum library. The collection grew from no books in 1872 to over 40,000 by 1929. Most of these were purchased at Sargent's own expense. By the time of his death Sargent had donated his entire library to the Arboretum as well as a large financial gift for upkeep of the existing collection and the purchase of more materials.

The Sargent papers include biographical material, correspondence, collection notes, published works, and photographs of Sargent and family. The correspondence consists of nine volumes of handwritten and typed copies of letters from 1882-1923. Sargent expanded the scope of the Arboretum's influence to include the preservation of the natural landscape, and American forests. Included in the collection are numerous articles on forestry reports, forest fires, and protection of forests, and Sargent's Tenth Census of the United States Forestry, 1880-1883.

Professor Sargent published a two-volume Manual of the Trees of North America in 1905. In 1965 it was still acclaimed at being unsurpassed as the most comprehensive, reliable study of North American tree characteristics. These volumes were the results of 44 years of original research. They include 185 genera and 717 species of trees found in the USA and Canada. There are 783 sharp, clear line drawings which illustrate leaves, flowers, and fruit. He includes the distribution of the trees, discussions of varieties and local variants, growth habits, wood, and descriptions of mature and immature foliage and fruits.

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Dr. Clifford Parks

by GCS Member --- Sandra Williams

Dr. Clifford Parks registered 'Dr. Clifford Parks' in 1981. It was from a six-year old hybrid cross ('Crimson Robe' x 'Kramer's Supreme'). It first bloomed in 1970. It went on to be the variety with the most winning points in the 1980's as published in "The Judges Have Spoken" in the yearbooks of the American Camellia Society for those years. Of the Camellia varieties I have learned about since we got involved with camellias, this was the first that I could spot at a show. Of course, it was easy to spot. It was the

big red bloom on the Head Table at many shows. The 'Dr. Clifford Parks' official description is: anemone form, red with an orange cast, yellow stamens, 5 1/2 to 6 inches in diameter and 3 to 3 inches in depth, blooms mid-season, has thick, long-lasting petals. It is a reticulata hybrid. Dr. Clifford Parks, the person, is a professor of biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He moved there from California in 1967. He has been very much involved with Camellias and research with Camellias. A regular contributor to the Yearbook of the American Camellia Society, he has shared much of his research with us. A sampling of his contributions include:

The following is a quote from the Internet describing one of his contributions to the arboretum in Chapel Hill: " During a plant exploration trip to China, Dr. Clifford Parks of the University of North Carolina Botany Department discovered an ancient National Treasure Tree of this species that was heavily pendulous. He was allowed to bring seed of this tree back to the U.S. and one of the seedlings maintained this weeping character - and subsequently was found very easy to propagate by softwood cuttings. He originally introduced it to commercial culture in catalog listings of Camellia Forest Nursery, 125 Carolina Forest Rd. PO Box 291, Chapel, Hill 27516 (919-967-5529) about 1989. It is so strongly weeping that it should be staked and trained up a pole or trellis until the height desired is reached. I have seen a magnificent 12' tree with flowing branches produced in 2 years in a garden near Houston, TX. A highly ornamental plant with good potential for use by discerning gardeners with creative imagination in plant design uses. Amazingly easy and fast from softwood cuttings under mist in early summer. Best in sun. USDA Zones 6-9. (Located in the northwest section of the west arboretum - between the crepe myrtles and red-buds there)".

Some of Dr. Parks contributions to the world of Camellias are the following varieties that he registered with the American Camellia Society:

The bloom, Dr. Clifford Parks, received the Harris Hybrid Award in 1977; the Charlotte C. Knox Reticulata Award in 1989; and was the Hybrid selection to the National Hall of Fame in 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987,1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, and 1993.

The man, Dr. Clifford Parks, was recognized as a Fellow of the American Camellia Society April 5, 1986. This recognition is "bestowed on a person who has been recognized as having made substantial and new contributions to scientific knowledge in the culture, care, and knowledge of camellias or in development of out-camellia clones or hybrids or similar advances in camellia culture." ACS Yearbook.

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