World of camellias: Annual show at Rural Life Museum to feature collection of global flowers

Visitors to the 41st annual Baton Rouge Camellia Society Show at the Rural Life Museum will drive past what former resident director of the Burden Center Pat Hegwood calls one of the best private collections of camellias in America.

The free show is open to the public from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 18 and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 19. People with camellias in their yards are invited to enter blossoms in the show.

Moving almost 500 camellias from the yard of the late Violet and Henry Stone to Burden Center, where the Rural Life Museum is situated, was one of the best things that happened during his tenure as director at Burden, Hegwood said.

“It put the Burden Center on the map in the camellia world,” said Hegwood, who’s on the American Camellia Society’s board of directors.

“There are lots of private collections” of camellia bushes, Hegwood said, “but Vi Stone’s was special because she collected so many in her travels. She had camellias growing in her yard” on Oleander Street “that weren’t growing anywhere else in the country.”