Phone calls to Edgefield Town Hall, personal contact and social media communication began by mid-January, after the Christmas andNew Year’s celebrations subsided. “WHEN is this year’s Camellia Tea?” — “We are coming!” And come they did on February 14 from Edisto Beach, Sullivan’s Island, Eutawville, Santee, Greenville, Charlotte, Charleston, Columbia, Greenwood, Aiken, North Augusta, Augusta, Batesburg to name a few. Even a visitor to the area from Connecticut dropped by – “charmed with the warm welcome and floral beauty of mid-winter! This tradition began 70 years ago!”
Overheard on Valentine’s afternoon at the annual Camellia Tea in Edgefield: “We have been coming about five years to this event! Wouldn’t miss it!” “My friends and I plan our day trip to have lunch, shop around, then visit the unique flower display.”
“What an incredible array of Camellia blossoms; here’s one that was propagated in the late 1700’s!” said another. And “The names of the varieties are fascinating!” One observer said, “Pink, Red, White or Variegated (more than one color on a flower), the blossoms are dazzling in their variations!”
February 14, Valentine’s Day, dawned bright and clear. Scores of visitors lined the brick walkway of Magnolia Dale, the antebellumhome in downtown Edgefield and home of the local Historical Society, waiting for the doors to open. The vision of hundreds of flowers did not disappoint. Guests photographed a favorite bloom or maybe a large display of the flowers, greeted strangers, old
friends, and clearly enjoyed the beauty and atmosphere of celebration all around. The Tea Table featured exquisite and tasty treats, with hot tea and punch to linger over. Visitors wandered throughout the rooms, exclaiming over which display was the best. Many attributed the large size of many blossoms to theabundance of rain this year. Either when arriving or leaving, guests could buy the “hot off the press” booklet entitled ‘NOTHING COULD BE FINER’, a History of Camellias in the Edgefield areaand the tradition of the Camellia Tea, including tea time recipes. (These can be bought by calling
Throughout the hours of the tea, with the gentle mid-winter weather, visitors from near and far enjoyed the Southern tradition of lingering on the porch. Truly ‘nothing could be finer.’
Red was a popular color for dress for the Camellia Tea, and one know why — inspired by the flowers. However, the hearts in the dress here show that it was happening on Valentine’s Day.Hats were on show at the tea, and added to the celebratory feel of the day.