This is a perfect time of year to visit a true hidden gem in southeast Ocala: Bob Wines Camellia Gardens and Nursery. Tucked away in a residential neighborhood is a vast, verdant oasis of lush flora, highlighted by the original camellia gardens planted by Bob Wines Sr. in the 1950s.
A Local Treasure
The local roots run deep at this garden center that started 72 years ago with an assortment of camellias and thousands of plants the founder collected while traveling the country. His son, Bob Wines Jr., took over the nursery in the 1970s and expanded it into a full five acres, under a canopy of old pine trees and filled with numerous varieties of azaleas, camellias and roses and a vast array of flowers, shrubs, bulbs, trees, hanging baskets, vegetable plants and herbs.
It’s Camellia Season
October through March is a special time at Bob Wines: It’s camellia season. These landscape plants feature big, beautiful flowers in shades of red, pink and white.
“It’s a special time of year for us, because Bob loved camellias. They both did,” says owner Laurie Williams, who worked alongside Bob Wines Jr. from 1986 until his passing in 2021.
Visitors will find more than 350 varieties of camellias, plus one extra special variety—the Black Lace Peony, recognized by the American Camellia Society, which was created by Bob Wines Sr., who won many awards for his flowers.
February also is the start of azalea season, another local favorite. These large, flowering shrubs are known for their prolific blooms in shades of pink, red, purple, white and orange.
The added value that Bob Wines offers over chain stores is personalized attention and the vast expertise staffers so generously share.
Need help deciding what to plant in your garden? Bring some photos to get expert recommendations. Trying to diagnose a problem with your plants? Bring in a leaf and let the experts identify the issue and help you solve it. They also offer professional clean out and landscaping services.
Whether or not you have a green thumb, Williams invites you to stop by.
“It’s just nice to come walk and stroll through the gardens, even if you’re not buying anything,” she says. “It’s very tranquil. It kind of feels like a little piece of heaven.”