Sacramento’s oldest camellia, thought to be 85 years old (+/-), is thriving after being replanted at Sutter Park in East Sacramento.
Prior to the demolition of Sutter Memorial Hospital in 2017, the tree-sized camellia that stood at the hospital’s entrance was carefully removed. The camellia was nurtured at a nearby nursery during construction of Sutter Park, East Sacramento’s newest neighborhood.
Sacramento’s oldest camellia now graces the entrance of the new infill housing development.
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See related blog post: Sacramento – Camellia City
The camellia was moved from its Midtown Sacramento location to the then new Sutter Maternity Hospital at F and 51st Streets in 1937.
Sutter Maternity Hospital (later named Sacramento Memorial Hospital), was known as “Sacramento’s Baby Hospital”. Over its lifespan generations of Sacramentans (approximately 350,000 babies) were born there.
Sutter Memorial Hospital moved from East Sacramento into new Midtown Sacramento facilities in 2015. This move paved the way for the development of the old hospital site to residential use.
It was then that a group of Sutter Memorial Hospital nurses, the Camellia Society of Sacramento and Stonebridge Properties joined forces to save the well-loved camellia.
Sutter Memorial Hospital Camellia Returns Home
In January, 2019, the developer of Sutter Park gave members of the East Sacramento Improvement Association (ESIA) Board of Directors a tour of the building site. During the tour and Q&A our hosts pointed out the newly replanted Sutter Memorial Hospital camellia to the left of the development’s entrance near 51st and F Streets.
I was very pleased to see the camellia placed in a prominent location to be enjoyed by future generations.
More recently, a dedication ceremony for Sacramento’s Oldest Camellia was held on March 5, 2020. As the hardy camellia is of an unknown variety, the Camellia Society of Sacramento reportedly plans to register the flower name “Sutter Memorial Memories” with the American Camellia Society.
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Sutter Memorial Memories Snapshot:
- Blooms February and March
- Dark pink flowers
- Unknown variety
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