BATON ROUGE – Denham Springs resident Florence Crowder helped coordinate a conference of the International Camellia Society’s Conversation Group at the LSU Ag Center at Burden.

Crowder acted as a liaison for the American Camellia Society and International Camellia Society in hosting the event.

The conference at Burden featured a tour of the camellia gardens and the working operation for growing camellias, led by Gerald Phares, immediate past president of the Baton Rouge Society.

A tour of the Rural Life Museum and Gardens was led by director David Floyd, along with Kay James and Dr. Trent James, docents for the museum. The facility is a Garden of Excellence with the International Camellia Society and member of the American Camellia Society’s Garden Trail.

The group also toured the arboretum for the dedication of 100 “pre-1900” camellia varieties from a collection by Florence and Charles Crowder, in memory of her parents, Ethel “Nook” and J.L. Scivicque.

International Camellia Society president Guan Kaiyun assisted in planting a “Sarah Frost” camellia, developed in 1841. Pat Scivicque crafted a bowl from the old camellia wood and that was presented to Kaiyun, along with necklaces and from camellia wood and walnut that were presented to Pat Short, Immediate Past President, and Celeste Richard, Executive Director of the American Camellia Society.

On the following day, the group traveled to Avery Island to tour Jungle Gardens, where hundreds of camellias had been plated since 1902. The group embarked the following day to the Mobile Botanical Garden – also a Garden of Excellence and ACS Trail Garden – where the K. Sawda Camellia Garden is housed.

The group returned to Louisiana the following day for a visit to St. Francisville, where they toured Rosedown Plantation’s house and garden. They also viewed camellias at Grace Episcopal Church.

The tour also included a trip to the State Capitol for a tour of the building and grounds, where many camellias are planted.

Thirty-two registered for the conference, representing the United States and seven other countries.

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