HAMMOND, La. - The annual camellia garden stroll is planned Feb. 26 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the LSU AgCenter's Hammond Research Station.

Sponsored by the AgCenter and Tangipahoa Master Gardeners, the open house affords plant lovers a chance to walk among more than 500 Camellia japonicas and sasanquas planted from the late 1930s to the early 1950s, said Sandra Benjamin, LSU AgCenter county agent.

A plant sale will held in conjunction with the open house.

The Hammond Research Station is at 21549 Louisiana Highway 1067 (Old Covington Highway) just east of Hammond.

Admission is free.

Regina Bracy, resident co-ordinator at the station, says the garden is among 41 in the American Camellia Society's Camellia Trail. Three other gardens on the trail are in Louisiana, and three are in Mississippi.

The garden was planted by Hody Wilson, who was then superintendent of the Hammond station and a widely known camellia breeder.

Hurricane Katrina knocked old pine trees down on many of the garden's camellias. And without the pine trees, many have died since then because they get too much sun, says Sandra Madere of the Tangipahoa Master Gardeners Association.

The research station originally was set up for fruit and vegetable farmers, but now focuses on research to serve the commercial landscape industry.



Camellia Trial gardens: http://bit.ly/y2ulDj

Camellia Trail gardens in Louisiana and Mississippi:


Rosedown Plantation State Historic Site, St. Francisville: www.nps.gov/nr/travel/louisiana/ros.htm

Burden Center, Baton Rouge: www.lsuagcenter.com

W. F. "Hody" Wilson Camellia Garden, Hammond: www.lsuagcenter.com

Longue Vue House and Gardens, New Orleans: www.longuevue.com


Melrose, Natchez National Historic Park, Natchez: www.nps.gov/natc/historyculture/places.htm

Eudora Welty House, Jackson: http://mdah.state.ms.us/welty/

Mynelle Botanical Garden, Jackson: www.jacksonms.gov/visitors/mynellgardens