Georgia Tourism and Destination Brooks produce first Camellia and Garden Symposium

News Release:Georgia Department of Economic Development

The Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Tourism Product Development team, in conjunction with Destination Brooks and the Quitman Garden Club will host the first Camellia and Garden Symposium on February 12 and 13. The event honoring Betty Sheffield will take place at the Quitman United Methodist Church.

In 2010, Quitman was selected by the Georgia Department of Economic Development to host a tourism product development resource team and at the time, the team identified Quitman’s namesake as the “Camellia City,” as a means to develop cultural tourism. Additionally, the team recognized the significance of Betty Sheffield’s work in hybridization of the Camellia japonica that is nationally recognized by horticulturists and backyard gardeners across the United States.

Speakers will include experts from Georgia, Florida and South Carolina and in turn will cover topics from landscaping to the history of camellias in southern gardens. Hugh and Mary Palmer Dargan from Atlanta, Walter Reeves from Atlanta and Tom Johnson from Magnolia Gardens in South Carolina are just a few of the nationally recognized speakers.

“I am thrilled that Quitman and Brooks County is participating in this prototype event,” said Bruce Green, Director of Tourism Product Development at the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

“Cultural tourism based on a community’s authentic heritage and cultural assets has the potential to positively impact every community in Georgia. The symposium is designed so that it can become an annual event thereby increasing tourism and visitation in the host community.”

In addition to the speaker lineup, there will be area tours of gardens and neighborhoods; including the Betty Sheffield Memorial Garden. Aside from her work with camellias, resulting in the "The Betty Sheffield" and the "Betty Sheffield Supreme" and many other "sports or mutants” of this camellia, Mrs. Sheffield was equally passionate about her desire to beautify Quitman. She worked untiringly as a volunteer supervisor of the city workers to landscape and maintain the medians on the main thoroughfares in Quitman. She was an inspiration for many to encourage beautification of their property by planting trees and shrubs and, of course, camellias.

Registration information is available at: Camellia and Garden Symposium Honoring Betty Sheffield.

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