Middle South

January, 2012
Regional Report

Shows & Events

Davidson Symposium
The Roots of Passion: The Inspired Gardener will be offered by Davidson Garden Club and Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina on March 6. The event features Andrea Wulf, author of The Brother Gardeners; David Howard, organic gardening expert and previous Head Gardener at Highgrove House for the Prince of Wales; Bill Thomas, Executive Director of the Chanticleer Foundation; Sean Hogan, owner of Cistus Nursery; and several others. The event will be held at the Knobloch Campus Center from 8 am to 4:15 pm. Lunch is included in the $85 registration fee. For more information, visit www.davidsonsymposium.org.

Clever Gardening Technique

Waxing Camellia Blooms
Many of our mothers and grandmothers knew how to extend the pleasure of camellia blooms by waxing them, a technique nearly lost in recent times. Creating the porcelain-like covering on these flowers (and others) is relatively simple, but instructions must be followed carefully for success.

First, collect blooms early in the morning when they are at their peak. If necessary, clean them with a soft brush or gently blow away dirt. Trim stems to a few inches and remove all but a leaf or two.

Then, heat five pounds of paraffin wax with one and a half pints of mineral oil in a double boiler or a heavy, four-quart saucepan. Once melted, cool or heat the wax to exactly 138 degrees F. Temperature is critical; the wax will scorch the bloom if it is too hot, and coat it too thickly when too cool.

When the wax is ready, hold leaves away from the flower and dip the bloom into the mixture with a sweeping motion. Twirl the flower as you move it through the wax, being careful not to touch the hot pan, and then lift sideways. Give the bloom a gentle shake before dipping it into a bowl of cold water. Again, plunge the flower in the water with a sweeping sideways motion to preserve the natural shape of the flower. Hold the bloom in the cold water for a few seconds, and then place it on a paper towel to dry.

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