The Sun News

New trail links best places to see camellias in Georgia

What could be more representative of gardens throughout Georgia than the camellia plant? Originally from eastern and southern Asia, the prolific bloom comes in thousands of varieties in a wide array of sizes and colors. Throughout Georgia there are formal gardens, historic mansions, plantations, house museums and even cemeteries with beautiful displays of camellia shrubs and trees.

Even the Governor’s Mansion has a garden with three camellias named after Sandra Deal, Rosalynn Carter and Betty Foy Sanders as First Ladies of Georgia. In fact, camellias have been a part of the landscape in the South since the establishment of the original colonies.

Today, over 30 locations throughout the state have been linked together creating Georgia’s Camellia Trail. Unveiled to the public on Feb. 4 at a ribbon cutting hosted at Massee Lane Gardens in Fort Valley, the trail is expected to draw many visitors as a unique tourism experience in Georgia.

Among the dignitaries attending the ribbon cutting were Celeste Richard, American Camellia Society executive director; Cindy Eidson, Georgia’s director of tourism product development; Bruce Green, Georgia Camellia Trail consultant; Rebekah Cline, tourism project manager for Georgia’s Historic Heartland; state Rep. Patty Bentley, D-Butler; and Georgia First Lady Sandra Deal.

Guests experienced an authentic Japanese tea ceremony performed by the Japan-America Society of Georgia and a Japanese drumming exhibition. Following the ribbon cutting, all were treated to an Asian-inspired luncheon.

Nearby public locations along Georgia’s Camellia Trail include Massee Lane Gardens, 100 Massee Lane, Fort Valley; the Dr. William Green Lee Camellia Garden, 933 Glenridge Drive, Macon; and the Waddell Barnes Botanical Gardens, Middle Georgia State University, 100 University Parkway, Macon.

Marsha Priest Buzzell is executive director of the Warner Robins Convention & Visitors Bureau. Contact her at 478-922-5100 or