New Hanover County Arboretum to host Tidewater Camellia Festival & Show

Photo Credit: Tidewater Camellia Club

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Azaleas throughout the Cape Fear will take center stage in another month but camellias are the “queen” of the winter blooms. The Tidewater Camellia Festival & Show will be taking place this weekend at the New Hanover County Arboretum.

The Tidewater Camellia Club (TCC) is a Wilmington mainstay and has been around since 1952. It was originally formed by a group of Wilmington businessmen and Henry Reider was the club’s first president.

Since its formation, TCC has hosted a show and sale every year.

“This is our seventieth show this coming weekend—we missed one due to bad weather—so that’s why the numbers don’t add up, but it’s seventy,” said TCC President Tom Alexander.

The club hosts a variety of activities from September through May.

“Every month, we have a general meeting and have a variety of guest speakers that talk on a lot of different topics—not necessarily just camellias and in the fall, we’ll have a show and sale focused on the sasanqua—which is the fall-early winter bloomer,” Alexander said. “In the spring, or late winter—February–we have our big show.”

It is a judged show featuring as many as 2,500 blooms. There’s also a sale featuring more than 300 plants.

This weekend’s event begins Saturday at 10 a.m.

“This year, we have some 300 plants that have come from nurseries in Georgia and they are not your average run-of-the-mill plants,” Alexander said. “They are not plants that you can find at the typical big-box stores.”

They will also have an in-person judged show for all of the camellias.

“We’re expecting about 600 or 700 different blooms that are judged, and around noon folks can go in and take a look at some really, really pretty flowers,” he said.

There will also be tours of the arboretum’s camellia garden and workshops about growing the plant.

“So there’s going to be something for everybody, as well as children’s art that’s on display,” Alexander said. “We’re working with five local New Hanover county schools. You’d be amazed at how good some of these young artists are.”

If you have recently moved to the region and have questions about growing camellias, this is a perfect opportunity to get free advice.

“We have some very experienced experts that can help you with any problem, and talk about plants that you’ve really never heard of,” said Alexander. “It’s really quite engaging, some 300 or more varieties and they all have a special place.”

Admission to the show and festival is free.  The New Hanover County Arboretum is located at 6206 Oleander Drive, Wilmington.


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