BATON ROUGE CAMELLIA VISITORS
Gerald and Sharon Phares from the USA celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary on 20 July 2016, and as part of their celebrations they decided to travel to New Zealand (first time overseas).
Gerald was the President of their local Camellia Branch in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and he and Sharon are accredited Camellia Judges.
Soon after they and their two daughter Bambi and Sissy (designated drivers) arrived in Auckland, and the following day they were hosted by members of the Auckland Branch who showed them around the Auckland Botanic Gardens with an emphasis on the Camellia Selection. They were impressed with what they saw.
They then spent a few days in Rotorua, back to Auckland, flew to Christchurch where they stayed in Cathedral Square. They saw the rebuild and the devastation caused by the earthquake.
They inspected by the Botanic Gardens, the Museum, and went on the Trans Alpine to the Coast and back.
They flew back to Auckland and drove to Whangarei for the National Camellia Show and Convention on 6 and 7 August.
Both Gerald and Sharon assisted with the judging. They were mpressed with the process, the quality of the blooms, their sizes, shapes and colours.
They were our hosts at our Saturday night dinner, and our garden visits the following day.
One of the gardens was the Quarry Gardens where the photograph was taken.
They throughly enjoyed their stay in New Zealand, were impressed with the people they met, and with our scenery.
It was then back to Auckland and home.
Soon after we heard through the meia Baton Rouge had experienced devastating floods, and we wondered if they had been affected.
A few weeks later we heard from Bambi and she said that Gerald and Sharon's property had been inandated with just on a mitre of water, and Sissy just on half a metre. Bambi was in a different location and had avaoided the flooding. Some key flooding facts -
- Bewteen 11 and 13 August there was a continuous downpour of rain for more than 70 hours
- The rivers, flood protection, and drainage systems could not cope
- 30,000 had to be rescued
- 40,000 homes were damaged
- 13 lives were lost
- Over $100 miliion in argricultural losses
- 86,500 have registered for disaster assistance
Our thoughts are with the Phares and people of Baton Rouge for their losses amd we wish them a speedy receovery