Greenville Opens Camellia Garden


By Catalina Trivino

Greenville is known as the "Camellia City" and on Monday, residents celebrate the completion of the new Camellia Garden...

"Maybe this is the beginning of a new era," Said Gene Hardin, an avid camellia grower.

It's been more than 60 years since Hardin has seen new camellias planted on this property next to Beeland Park. In fact, he was one of the people who helped plant more than 200 camellias in the original camellia garden planted in the 1950's.

Hardin he says seeing a new generation do this all over again is a dream turned into a reality.

"I was on the council and the nursery man across the creek went out of business. He called me and asked me if I'd like to have the plants that he had," Said Hardin, explaining how the garden got its start.

Hardin was one of many who attended the Camellia Garden opening on Monday, a project that's been in the works for years. It's an acre of property that was reffered to an "eye-sore," according to city leaders. Now, its become an extension of the camellias planted in the late 1950's.

That's 60 new plants horticulturalist, Jennifer Stringer says will help the Camellia City live up to its name.


"We used a tractor, tiller, just to till all the soil up and like I said that's the most important thing when you're planting. It's getting the soil right, loose, where the plant can actually grow," Said Stringer.

But there's more to it than a "scenic" view. Stringer says she's hoping to put signs out on the bushes for the garden to become a learning tool for the surrounding area.

"We'd want you to know which one is which and that way when you come up here and you're going, 'Wow! I'd love to have that in my yard!' Then you'll know and you can take it and go to a nursery and buy one for yourself," Said Stringer, who also said the total cost of the project is about $6,000.

In the future, the city hopes to add a gazebo and an arbor to its Camellia Garden. They also  hope to add another camellia garden on the walking trail at the YMCA.


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