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Rare opportunity awaits Modesto flower lovers at usually off-limits Gallo grounds

Margaret Baumgratz, right, and her mother Vera Baumgratz look at Yosemite camellia flowers at the private camellia garden outside Modesto Camellia Society Show at Gallo Winery in Modesto, Calif., Saturday, March 16, 2019.
Margaret Baumgratz, right, and her mother Vera Baumgratz look at Yosemite camellia flowers at the private camellia garden outside Modesto Camellia Society Show at Gallo Winery in Modesto, Calif., Saturday, March 16, 2019. aalfaro@modbee.com

It’s a blooming good time for flower lovers this weekend in Modesto.

The 58th annual Camellia Show began Saturday and continues Sunday, March 17. The event is presented by the Camellia Society of Modesto at the E&J Gallo Winery Administration Building and adjacent gardens.

The show has averaged about 2,000 visitors each year. For the past five decades, it’s been held at the Gallo administration building, the only time the park-like winery grounds are open for free to the public.

People who attend the show are encouraged to take the 1-mile walk through the grounds, which feature 1,000 camellias, other plants and lakes — as well as several free-roaming peacocks. Some of the club’s more knowledgeable members will offer informational tours through the grounds.

Visitors to the free show can expect a variety of judged blooms on display inside the building. There also will be several camellia plants available for purchase, including several rare varieties.

The event continues Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the E&J Administration Building, 600 Yosemite Blvd, Modesto.

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