Festival of Camellias at Massee Lane Gardens

Festival of Camellias at Massee Lane Gardens

Festival of Camellias at Massee Lane Gardens

Reservations for tours guided by a professional horticulturist and deluxe guided tours with boxed lunches are available throughout of the camellia blooming season. Guests will enjoy a full month of activities in February. Camellia plants are on sale through April.

2019-2020 Camellia Blooming Season and Festival of Camellias at Massee Lane Gardens: The Journey of the Camellia from Asia to America

Massee Lane Gardens celebrates the 2020 Festival of Camellias and the journey of the camellia from Asia to America for the entire month of February 2020. Although camellias bloom from late fall through early spring, February is the peak of the camellia blooming season. Visitors will stroll through pathways nine acres of specialty gardens full of blooming heirloom, modern, and species camellia plants.

Professionally guided tours and box lunches are available throughout the season for groups of ten or more. Tour lunches are available on a first come, first served basis. Boxed lunch tours are $15 each and will be served between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Lunches are provided by Stephanie Goodman of PeeWee Bakery Sweets in Montezuma, Georgia. Tours may be scheduled before or after lunch.

  • Each lunch includes bag of chips, grapes, a homemade white chocolate cupcake, a bottle of water, mayo and mustard on the side, and utensils, napkin, salt & pepper.

  • Choices include ham, turkey or chicken salad on a croissant or a fresh garden salad. Please advise of any dietary restrictions when making reservations and placing an order for your group.

  • Download a lunch menu and then call toll free (877) 422-6355 to select the date of your choice and make reservations. Payment must be received two weeks in advance for luncheon tours. (Cancellations require a week’s advance notice.) Phone payments by credit card are accepted.

Camellia plants will be on sale throughout the season and during each event. The Garden Gift Shop will also be open with an eclectic collection of camellia and garden-themed gifts ranging from home decor to jewelry and accessories.

In honor of the new Leon and Lois Silver Educational Camelliarie under construction at Massee Lane Gardens, the Journey of the Camellia theme will celebrate the story of how the "Queen of Winter" came to America and became a classic in southern gardens. A schedule of fun activities will add to the joy of seeing so many different colors, sizes and forms of camellias, and educational presentations and workshops will offer information on developing, caring for, and enjoying camellias. Boxed lunches can be ordered for the Wednesday education series.

Festival of Camellias Special Events

Click here to download a printable event schedule.

Kick Off Celebration with Free Admission: February 1, 2020

Admission will be free from 10:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on February 1, 2020 to kick off the month of camellia fun. Activities include self-guided tours, complimentary nature scavenger hunts with prizes, face painting, and fun art activities for children.

Guests will enjoy the beautiful simplicity of an Ikebana exhibition hosted by the Middle Georgia Chapter of Ikebana International. Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arranging, and can be described as making sculptures using living plant materials. Dee Boran, of Warner Robins, Georgia will bring several Ikebana artists to construct large and small arrangements in the porcelain gallery.
The Georgia Camellia Queen, Nayah Terry, and her Court will make their first public appearances. The young ladies are the first winners of the new annual Georgia Camellia Pageant, held in the fall at Massee Lane Gardens. The court includes Miss Georgia Camellia Princess Karli Keiser, Teen Miss Georgia Camellia Bailey Batten, Junior Miss Georgia Camellia Brailyn Bailey, Little Miss Georgia Camellia Claire Turner, Petite Miss Georgia Camellia Adrianna Williams, Tiny Miss Georgia Camellia Dani Reese Grube, Toddler Miss Georgia Camellia Remington Bracamonte, and Baby Miss Georgia Camellia Karter Smith.

Smoke and Fire Mobile Woodfired Pizza Oven and Barbecue will be on site serving a menu that will please the entire family. The Albany, Georgia food truck is acclaimed for slow smoked, tender barbeque and the wood fired Neapolitan style pizza with uality fresh ingredients. (Gluten Free Crust Available Large Pizza Only) Glen Eames retired from coaching baseball for Darton State College baseball and won 5th in Big Pig Jig in Vienna, Georgia with a school-student cooking team, motivating him to launch a restaurant business.

I Love Camellias Valentine's Day Luncheon: February 14, 2020

A three-course European meal will be served on February 14, 2020, Valentine's Day, at 11:30 a.m. in the beautiful porcelain gallery of the Annabelle Fetterman Museum. The meal will be prepared and served by Els Rombaut of Fruits of Vienna Bed and Breakfast Inn, of Vienna, Georgia. The menu features red beet salad with goat cheese, an open face sandwich with ham, cheese, and heart-shaped sunny-side up eggs, and elegant French biscuit, a heart-shaped dessert with light pastry layers, fresh fruit and homemade whipped cream.

Guests will be treated to a professional romantic photography shoot by portrait photographer Judy Robinson of Judy Anne Photography of Butler, Georgia. Each ticket will receive a digital image sent by email as a keepsake. Photo shoot sessions will be scheduled before and after lunch. Appointments will be scheduled on a first come, first served basis when reservations are made, so register early for your preferred time slot.
A ‘Valentine Day’ camellia plant in a three-gallon pot with planting instructions is included with each ticket. 'Valentine Day' is a C. reticulata hybrid of 'Crimson Robe' x 'Tiffany' first bloomed in 1963. It was originated and propagated by Howard Asper of Escondido, CA. It was commercially introduced in 1969. The flower is a very large 6"+ very deep, formal double, rose bud center with medium salmon pink to deeper red petals. Blooms may show a few stamens when fully opened. The blooms are long lasting. The plant growth is vigorous, upright, and rapid. 'Valentine Day' blooms in midseason.

Advance reservations and photography session appointment times are required by February 10, 2020.
$50 Single Ticket (garden admission, one meal, one photo and one camellia) or $75 Couple Ticket (garden admission for two, two meals, one photo and one camellia). Please specify any dietary limitations when making reservations. Call toll free (877) 422-6355 to select a photo shoot time slot and make reservations. Credit card payments may be accepted over the phone.


Little Buds Day: Saturday, February 8, 2020, 10:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Piccadilly Puppets Company will give two live puppet shows at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. about the legend of Chinese Emperor Shennong’s discovery of tea, the world's most popular beverage.
Awarded the UNIMA Citation for Excellence in the Art of Puppetry, The Piccadilly Puppets Company has performed for regional, national, and international puppetry festivals and at the International Children’s Festival at Wolf Trap Farm. The primary mission of The Piccadilly Puppets Company is to provide puppetry experiences of high artistic quality to young audiences. Most of the plays feature original scripts and music, and great care is taken to blend content with curriculum.


All of the puppeteers are professional performers. Nancy Riggs, the director, has performed for youth as an actor, puppeteer and teacher for over 20 years for many different companies such as the Center for Puppetry Arts, The Academy Theatre for Youth, and the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center. She has been with The Piccadilly Puppets Company since 1997.
Young guests will also enjoy scavenger hunts, art activities, and pretending to sail around the world in an 18-foot inflatable slide ship. Complimentary nutritious snacks will be offered to each registered young guest.

The event is free with advance reservations by February 6, 2020.
Click here to email your name, phone number and the number in your party to make reservations.

Workshops, Classes and Presentations

Camellia Culture and Care Educational Workshop: Saturday January 25, 2020, 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

The Middle Georgia Camellia Society will host the sixth annual camellia culture and care educational workshop on Saturday, January 25, 2020 at Masse Lane Gardens in Fort Valley, Georgia from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. This hands-on workshop is a fun way to connect with others and learn more about camellias. Topics include how to grow camellias successfully, properly plant camellias, graft and air-layer camellias, hybridize camellias, wax camellias for extended enjoyment, and to use camellias for bonsai. The deadline for registration is Monday, January 20, 2020. For questions, please reach out to Jo Creel at (229) 815-5620 or by emailing jocreel@gmail.com. The $20 registration fee goes towards the cost of demonstration materials, supplies and lunch. Click here for a registration form and additional information.

Free Tea Tastings: Each Monday in February

To celebrate the contributions of the tea plant and its health benefits, complimentary tea will be served each Monday in February. Visitors will taste a different variety of Biron Tea, which is carried in the Massee Lane Gardens gift shop. Biron teas use traditional Western, Chinese, and Ayurvedic herbs. The teas are 100 percent  natural and specially blended for taste and aroma, giving them exceptional flavor. The tea tasting is free with garden admission.

Health Benefits of Biron Herbal Teas: Wednesday, February 5, 2020, 11:00 a.m.

At 11:00 a.m. on February 5, 2020, Andi Biron will launch the season’s Wednesday education series with a presentation on the health benefits of tea and how her company sustainably blends, bags, markets and distributes artisan tea from their factory in the Farmer’s Market in Macon, Georgia.
Biron has a master’s in Nutrition Science and incorporated the insight and knowledge of many different cultures to select the best healing herbs for each blend. She will explain how her teas are designed to offer holistic experiences, from the physical body’s sense of taste and smell, to the emotions where untapped potential and joy await.
The presentation is free with garden admission but requires advanced registration.
Click here to email your name, phone number and the number in your party to make reservations.
Call (478) 422-6355 to order a boxed lunch to eat after the presentation.

‘Rena Campbell’ and ‘Betty Sheffield’: The Friends and their Flowers: Wednesday, February 12, 2020, 11:00 a.m.

Bruce Green will tell the story of the ‘Rena Campbell’ and ‘Betty Sheffield’ camellias, the friendship between the Quitman, Georgia ladies the camellias were named for. Rena Campbell, an African American neighbor is credited with introducing ‘Betty Sheffield’ to the genus Camellia in the early part of the 20th century.
In 1920, Campbell obtained a seed from a neighbor’s garden and grew it into a seedling. Sheffield later planted a seedling from this plant by her back door It later became the parent of the bloom registered as ‘Betty Sheffield’, which later sported many famous camellias, including ‘Betty Sheffield Supreme’, the only camellia to appear on a US postage stamp.
Green is the former Tourism Product Development Director for the State of Georgia and was instrumental in establishing the Georgia Camellia Trail. He is in the process of writing a screenplay based on their friendship and the ability of the camellia to bring people together. Green is known for his humorous story-telling and witty presentation style.
The presentation is free with garden admission but requires advanced registration.
Click here to email your name, phone number and the number in your party to make reservations.
Call (478) 422-6355 to order a boxed lunch to eat after the presentation.

Camellia Painting Class: Saturday February 15, 2020, 11:00 a.m.

Americus, Georgia artist Yasmin Hasnain will lead a fun camellia painting class on February 15, 2020. 
The $30 class fee includes canvas, paint, painting materials and garden admission. The class is held in the beautiful Fetterman Porcelain Gallery.
A self trained artist, Yasmin loved painting from a young age and has tried many mediums and likes to paint different subject matters, landscapes, portraits and even some abstracts.
Presently, Yasmin is a board member of the Americus Arts Council in southwest Georgia. Her paintings have been sold in art shows in Americus, Albany, and Columbus, Georgia. Her paintings can also be found on display at Cafe Campesino in Americus, Georgia. She has been giving Art lessons to both children and adults in Americus.
Advance reservations are required.  Call toll free (877) 422-6355 to make reservations. Credit card payments may be accepted over the phone.

How the Species Camellia reticulata Came to America: Wednesday,February 19, 2020, 11:00 a.m.

Camellia hybridizer, Randolph Maphis of Tallahassee, Florida, will share the story of how a dozen plants of the species Camellia reticulata were imported into California from China in March 1948.
The popular reticulata hybrids in the United States today are all descendants of those original camellias.
The presentation is free with garden admission but requires advanced registration.
Click here to email your name, phone number and the number in your party to make reservations.

Call (478) 422-6355 to order a boxed lunch to eat after the presentation.


New Camellia Hybrids: Wednesday, February 26, 2020, 11:00 a.m.

The final educational presentation will introduce new camellia hybrids currently under development.

Loch Laurel Nursery owner and noted camellia breeder, Mark Crawford of Valdosta, Georgia, will describe the breeding programs which use two different species to create camellias with unusual colors--such as yellow--as well as varieties that have desirable characteristics such as summer blooming, repeat blooming, or cold hardiness, scent and sun tolerance.

The presentation is free with garden admission but requires advanced registration. Please email amccleese@americancamellias.org your name, phone number and the number in your party to make reservations.

The presentation is free with garden admission but requires advanced registration.
Click here to email your name, phone number and the number in your party to make reservations.
Call (478) 422-6355 to order a boxed lunch to eat after the presentation.

Middle Georgia Camellia Society and Flint Energies Competitive Camellia Show: Saturday February 22, 2020 and Sunday February 23, 2020, 1:00 p.m.

 A camellia show hosted by the Middle Georgia Camellia Society on February 22, 2020 will showcase hundreds of camellia blooms, showing the diversity of sizes, shapes and colors that make camellias such a prized addition to any garden.

  • Show Contact: Tommy Martin

  • massee.lane.camellia.show@gmail.com

  • (478) 235-0096

  • Entries (open to all growers and the public) will be accepted from 7:30 A.M. until 10:30 A.M. on Saturday, February 22, 2020. Experts will be on hand to assist the public with preparing blooms from your home garden to enter in the show.

  • The show will be open for public viewing, Saturday, from the conclusion of judging around noon unti  4:30 p.m. and Sunday, 1:00-4:00 p.m.

Caring for Camellias in the Home Garden Landscape: Saturday February 29, 2020, 11:00 a.m.

On February 29, 2020, Master Gardener Jay Neff and ACS Assistant Executive Director, Matthew Israel will conduct a hands-on workshop with tips on caring for camellias in the home garden landscape. Participants will learn how to choose a site, how to plant a new camellia, how and when to prune your established camellias, and how to deal with pests and diseases that might threaten your garden. Neff and Israel will explain which tools to use for specific tasks, and show which products to use for fertilizer, pest management, fungus prevention, and other common problems.

An onsite tool sharpening service will be on hand to prepare your clippers for the spring camellia-pruning season. Leave your lawn tools at the beginning of the day and pick them up after the workshop. Prices are very reasonable and will help you extend the life of your tools and make your spring pruning tasks a little easier. The workshop is free with garden admission, but registration is required.

Call now for Box Lunch and Guided Tour Reservations! Don’t delay in making your advanced, pre-paid reservations today. Tours and lunches are available on a first come, first served basis.

Professionally guided tours can be scheduled for groups of ten or more Tuesday through Friday in October 2019 - January 2020, and Monday through Friday in February.

Tours are $5 per person, and feature admission to the Massee Lane Gardens; a video presentation on the history of Massee Lane Gardens, the American Camellia Society, and camellia species and cultivars; a short informative speech by a Horticultural Expert; and a professionally guided tour of Massee Lane Gardens.

Deluxe boxed luncheon tours are also available for groups of ten or more with reservations two weeks in advance for $15. Lunches and guided tours are available now through April 2020. Click here to download and print the menu and box lunch order form.
Be sure to call  (877) 422-6355 to make or confirm reservations for your group's preferred date as well as note the scheduled date on the lunch order form. Please return the form by attaching it to an email addressed to giftshop@americancamellias.org or faxing it to (478) 967-2083. Payment must be received two weeks in advance for luncheon tours. Cancellations require a week’s advance notice. Phone payments by credit card are accepted.

Boxed lunches will be served between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. in the Annabelle Lundy Fetterman Gallery and Museum among breathtaking Boehm porcelain masterpieces. Tours can be scheduled either before or after the meal. Make your reservations early for the best scheduling options. Be sure to save time to visit our newly renovated gift shop and plant sale tent!
Massee Lane Gardens Hours and Admission
  • Open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. until 4:30 p.m.  (And Mondays in February)
  • Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, and free for children under 12 and American Camellia Society members.
  • Flint Energies Co-Op Connection members are eligible for a dollar off the regular admission fee (please show membership card at Gift Shop to receive the discount.) (Admission discounts are not available for guided tours.)
  • Massee Lane Gardens is located at 100 Massee Lane, Ft. Valley, Georgia. Click here for driving instructions and information on the gardens.
  • Call toll free at (877) 422-6355 to schedule a guided tour or to reserve a boxed luncheon. For more information, email ask@americancamellias.org.