Robert Rogers is a man who enjoys the outdoors. In fact, the Martinez resident said it’s where he spends most of his time.
“I don’t stay in the house. I’m outside right now,” said Rogers during a recent phone conversation.
Rogers, who was married for 47 years when his wife died in August 2000, said he’s the chief cook and bottle washer now. He’s the chief gardener, as well.
Rogers enjoys tending to his five camellia gardens, two rose gardens and various vegetable gardens. On Saturday, May 11, he will share his method of “air-layering” camellias during an open-to-the-public event at his home.
“It’s a dying art and people just don’t take the opportunity to learn about it,” said Rogers, who graduated from the Georgia Master Gardener class in 2009.
Rogers will share his method of air-layering camellias – a method of propagating the plant – beginning at 10 a.m.
Known for his colorful and well-maintained landscape, Rogers began growing camellias in 1951. Incidentally, that was the same year he met his wife, who hailed from Marshallville, Ga. Marshallville, nestled between Macon and Taylor, is just down the road from Fort Valley, headquarters of the American Camellia Society.
“I’ve been doing this for years,” said Rogers of his camellia growing, acknowledging with a laugh that his mother-in-law told him if he was going to be in the family, he’d have to learn to grow camellias and play bridge.
Being outdoors, however, is more Rogers’ speed and where he spends the majority of his time.
“I just do a little of everything,” he said, noting that he raised worms until recently when he sold his operation to a gentleman in Lincolnton. He also enjoys tending to his multiple beds of camellia and rose bushes.
To date, Rogers estimates that he has more than 170 camellia plants. He’s acquired many of them by air-layering, a method that will produce a new plant in about four months.
Armed with a few necessary supplies – moss, plastic wrap and aluminum foil – Rogers carefully demonstrates how to propagate camellias. Air-layering is a technique that can be used to propagate other plants as well.
To learn more about how Rogers propagates his camellias, call (706) 860-9769 and let him know you’ll be there Saturday. He’s all too happy to share his knowledge with others.