One of the world's finest collections of camellias fills a nine-acre area just outside Fort Valley at Massee Lane, the home of the American Camellia Society.
The formal camellia garden at Massee Lane had its beginnings in the 1930s as the private garden of peach grower and farmer David C. Strother. He surrounded his farmhouse with camellias. Year by year, he moved out the garden borders to accommodate the camellias he wanted to plant. It is said he never included a camellia he didn't like, even if it were given to him. Mr. Strother donated this land to the American Camellia Society for its headquarters in 1966.
The Georgian style headquarters building was completed in 1968 and is named for Mr. Strother. The following year the T.J. Smith Memorial Greenhouse was built to house the present collection of some 200 camellia plants grown under glass in an attractive landscaped setting.
More than a thousand varieties of camellias are grown at Massee Lane along with sasanquas, fragrant tea olives, Lady Banksia roses, and delightfully scented daphnes.