"When Camellias were first introduced from China to Europe, common varieties were expensive plants 100 to 150 years ago.
Sale recorded in old books, reveal small Camellia plants fetching as much as $180.00 to
6 000 francs.
In fact, Camellias of "yesteryear" were truly the aristocrats of winter-flowering plants. They were owned by people of wealth, culture and refinement."
The Beginning of Nursery Business in Semmes.
T. Kiyono came from Japan in 1917 started the first nursery in Semmes growing citrus fruits . He was very successful and soon new nurseries began to appear.
A series of freezes in the 1930 brought the growing of citrus fruit to a halt and the beginning of growing Azaleas and Camellias.
T. Kiyono was in Japan when the war with Japan began. The U.S Government took over the property and later Mr. Clint McDade brought the property. Mr. Stevens managed the operations for Mr. McDade. The nursery grew. New nurseries were started by other nurserymen.
Mobile Press-Nov. 28, 1948-Mrs. H..M. Jarvis-"Spurred into expanded operations by heavy demand for its products in recent years, this Mobile County Community is now telling the world it is "the center of the Camellia and Azalea Industry of the United States.".......more azaleas and camellias are grown and shipped from Semmes than any one point.."