Camellia Garden at the Hammond Research Station

Regina P. Bracy, Coco, Annie, Owings, Allen D.  |  3/17/2005 8:58:41 PM

Group photo of people in front of large camellia

A two-acre camellia garden at the LSU AgCenter’s Hammond Research Station is now open again, thanks to the efforts of the Tangipahoa Parish Master Gardeners. The collection featuring more than 450 named cultivars and 650 total plants was planted by Hody Wilson, superintendent of the station and widely known camellia breeder, during the 1940s and 1950s.

The Louisiana Master Gardeners of Tangipahoa Parish came to the rescue in early 1999, taking on the cleanup and maintenance of the garden as a project. According to Tangipahoa Parish horticulture agent Annie Coco, Susan Spiller, a former resident of Hammond until her death in 2001, was an enthusiastic Master Gardener who spent many hours cleaning up and caring for the camellias. A memorial camellia, “Sweet Jane,” was planted in the garden in 2002 in her memory.

A grant from the Metro Area Horticulture Foundation in 2001 helped with the garden renovation. The camellia effort will now continue at the Hammond Research Station because of a shift in focus from fruit and vegetable research to a program that will serve the commercial landscape industry. Additional information on the camellia garden at the Hammond Research Station is available from station research coordinator Regina Bracy (985/543-4125) or Coco (985/748-9381).

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