When Josef Neuschwanger found himself looking after the garden owned by his then parents-in-law, he thought he had better learn a thing or two about camellias. "It had 160-odd camellias in it, I didn't know anything about them," Mr. Neuschwanger said.
It was the start of a love affair with the flowering shrubs. Mr. Neuschwanger now has 173 camellias in his own garden and has been a regular exhibitor at the Claremont Flower Show in Hobart's northern suburbs since moving to Tasmania from the Illawarra region in NSW.
"I talk to the people who are looking at the camellias, I see people who are interested and I'll go up and ask them whether they're growing, what they grow, do they have problems," he said.
Mr. Neuschwanger is also involved with the Camellia Society. "Having been involved with the camellias for over 20 years. I've watched as some of the big growers, particularly in the Illawarra got older and could no longer look after the gardens they had," he said.
He said while some younger people were interested in camellias, they were not exhibiting the volume of flowers the larger growers would.
"You don't have the same gardens that used to be around. They're much smaller." Claremont Flower Show Group president Neil Harwood has been involved in flower shows since the mid-1980s.
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