It’s all coming up camellias for Kevin
- IRT Seaview resident Kevin Walker is an avid camellia grower.
- His camellia reticulata took out grand champion at the 2019 Camellias Illawarra 67th Annual Camellia Show.
- Kevin grafts impressive flowering varieties onto common stock.
- He has some 18 camellias growing in his garden.
Kevin Walker only entered one flower in the 2019 Camellias Illawarra 67th Annual Camellia Show – but it only takes one to be grand champion.
Kevin’s camellia reticulata, called Dr Clifford Parks, took out the title in July last year. Kevin and his wife Sandra are members of Camellias Illawarra Inc, and the prize-winning bloom was entered under both their names.
Kevin estimates there were some 1600 camellias entered into the show and was surprised but thrilled by the win.
“I’ve entered plenty of times and had firsts, seconds and thirds in the past but never won a big ribbon before.”
As he came first in his section and then was named grand champion, Kevin received a ribbon, two sashes, the AW Jessep Medal for Grand Champion Bloom of the Show, two certificates and a beautiful bowl (pictured below).
It’s the first time Kevin has been able to enter the show since moving into IRT Seaview some five years ago – as his camellias haven’t been ready to exhibit until now.
“The flower was looking good on the Thursday or Friday before the show and I was hoping to get a place in a section.”
Kevin explains that when growing his camellias he grafts impressive flowering varieties onto common stock in a pot. He then covers the plant with a plastic bag and seals it up. Once the graft starts to shoot, he gradually peels back the plastic over a few days – so the plant can adjust.
Kevin’s cousin William Walker, who is the current Vice-President of the Camellias Illawarra Inc Committee, got him interested in camellias. At his IRT Seaview home, Kevin currently has 18 camellias growing in the garden and plenty growing in pots.
Camellias are a winter flowering plant and come in several colours – usually pink, white and red. Kevin explains the camellia reticulata is a vigorous grower for a camellia.
When asked if he had any tips for other camellia growers Kevin was very modest and said as he was an amateur grower he would be more interested in getting tips from other growers.