Pioneer Park
6500 Stage Road
Loachapoka, AL
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Charles Mitchell
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Date: November 10th, 2018
Time: 9:30 AM until 12:30 PM

The Auburn-Opelika Men’s Camellia Club will hold its first fall Camellia Show in 18 years at Pioneer Park in Loachapoka on Saturday, November 10, 2018.

The show is to honor the Bicentennial of the State of Alabama and the Camellia as its official State Flower. Camellia japonica normally bloom during the late fall through early spring but members of the A-O Men’s Camellia Club have been treating their Camellias since late summer in order to get earlier, larger and more colorful blooms than normal.

Members will be available to talk about Camellia culture and they will have some special varieties for sale that are not available anywhere else. You can also visit the Heirloom Camellia Garden to see some of these magnificent blooms first hand. All other Second Saturday venues at Pioneer Park will be open and free to the public. 

Pioneer Park is home of the Lee County Historical Society and is located in Loachapoka, about 5 miles west of Auburn on Alabama Highway 14.

Lost Camellia Found Locally

The Auburn-Opelika Men’s Camelia Club has been trying to put together a collection of Camellias that have a connection to the Auburn-Opelika area.  Ken Rogers of Auburn accidentally found a 1960 reference to a Camellia japonica named ‘War Eagle.’  It was named by a Dr. Gilbert Fisher  of Union Springs, Alabama.  The Club has a list of over 500 named varieties that are growing in the Auburn-Opelika area but ‘War Eagle’ is not on the list.  None of the club members ever remember seeing the flower.  After several months of searching last fall and winter, Ken Rogers, Wayne Bassett, Charles Mitchell, and Wallace Baldwin of the A-O Men’s Camellia club ventured to Union Springs to hunt for ‘War Eagle’ on the old plantation estate of Dr. Fisher.  The property was recently purchased by Shaunna & Jason  Flennikan who helped search some of Dr. Fisher’s old Camellia bushes scattered around the property.  One specimen looked suspiciously like the description of ‘War Eagle.’

About a week later, Charles was visiting with Linda and William Dean in Auburn who had retired and had moved back to Auburn to fix up Linda Dean’s family home on South College Street, a beautiful old Victorian home directly across the street from the President’s  Home on the A.U. campus.  Linda wanted some advice on replanting Camellias on this property.  While looking around the old landscape, Charles discovered a  huge old Camellia by the back door.  It was covered in dark red flowers about 2 ½ inches wide with a row of outside petals surrounding an anemone-like center containing the anthers.  The flower matched a written description of ‘War Eagle’ and the one found on Dr. Fisher’s estate.  This must be Dr. Fisher’s ‘War Eagle.’  Linda said her father loved Camellias and he was a contemporary of Dr. Fisher.  She thinks this bush may have been planted or grafted in the late 1950s to early1960s, about the time Dr. Fisher named ‘War Eagle’.  It was also about the time that the Auburn-Opelika Men’s Camellia Club was founded (c. 1959).  What better place to find a true ‘War Eagle’ than directly across the street from the President’s Home at Auburn University.  The Club is in the process of propagating this newly found, old Camellia.