Our History

Bob Wines Camellia Gardens & Nursery in Ocala, FL, has a long history and deep passion for gardening. Our family-owned business started when our founder, Bob Sr., turned his hobby of gardening and interest in Camellias into a business.

In the 1950s, Bob Sr. traveled all over the U.S. finding and learning about camellias. He collected thousands of different plants and used those to start his own business in 1952. Many local parks and businesses still have a lot of flowers he started, and many of his original plants are growing all throughout Florida and Georgia, allowing his legacy to live on.

Bob Wines, Sr. and Bob Wines, Jr.

In the 1970s, the business was passed down a generation and was expanded into what it is today, five acres of land full of Camellias and other flowers, plants, trees, and shrubs.

Laurie Williams, who has been here since 1986, is now the owner running the day-to-day operations of the garden center and landscaping business. We take pride in what we do and we strive to provide the very best in plants, products, and services in the North Central Florida area. Our staff is trained to provide you with the best possible information and advice as we believe in educating our customers so you can take that knowledge and use it in your garden at home.

Our extensive experience and history in the industry allow us to provide expert advice and recommendations on how to create your own backyard garden complete with amazingly beautiful flowers and plants.

At Bob Wines Camellia Gardens & Nursery, our passion for gardening is evident, and our passion for flowers is apparent in everything we offer and the services we provide. If you want an education on proper gardening techniques, come see us.

Contact us today at 352-629-5766 for more information about our history.

In Loving Memory

Robert "Bob" Wines, Sr

Jan 1, 1918 May 22, 2013

Robert "Bob" Wines, Jr

Dec 29, 1941 Apr 7, 2021

Robert "Bob" Wines, Sr
Robert "Bob" Wines, Jr

Below is an article that was written by Andy Fillmore at the Ocala StarBanner

'A hidden gem': Remembering Bob Wines Jr.,
whose nursery made Marion beautiful

Bob Wines Jr., owner of Bob Wines Nursery & Landscape and Camellia Garden in Ocala, died peacefully of natural causes on April 7. He was 79.

In addition to being an esteemed gardener, Wines was a former teacher and loving grandfather who reached out to help the local homeless and even shared his landscaping talents with his former school in Georgia.

"Bob saw the best in everyone and loved the Lord and loved to bless people. He was a Christian," said Laurie Williams, his business partner since 1986.

Patrick Andrews, past president of the Ocala Camellia Society, said Wines "was one of the most influential (camellia) growers in the area and had an impressive collection."

Wines is survived by his two daughters, Maryanne Nowlan, 41, and Bobbye Wines, 46, both of Ocala, and his 8-year-old granddaughter, Harper, who is Nowlan's daughter.

Bob Wines doted over Harper and she enjoyed rides in a golf cart around the nursery and watching television with her "Pa."

Williams and Nowlan will continue to head up the nursery operation.

A man who lived his faith

Mary Wines said he was a "driven and dedicated businessman," and one of his favorite Bible verses was Colossians 3:17, which states, in part: "Let every activity of your lives and every word from your lips be drenched with the beauty of the Lord Jesus."

Bob Wines sponsored Mr. George's Ministries, a local homeless outreach founded by George Ayala, who works at the nursery.

Wines supported and volunteered with the meal-serving outreach from 2016 through early 2020.

"Bob Wines was a great man, He helped me with the ministry, donated and helped out with the (meals)," Ayala said.

The ministry provided meals for as many as 100 homeless people, and the meals and hygiene kits were distributed in an empty parking lot on downtown Ocala, Williams said.

Marion County native who headed to Georgia and Mississippi for school

 

Bob Wines Jr. was born on Dec. 29, 1941, in the Lake Weir area and was known for his ability to use just one water ski.

"(My father) loved Lake Weir," Bobbye Wines said.

He attended school locally up to the eighth grade and then went to Gordon Military College High School and junior college at Gordon Military College, now Gordon State College, part of the state University System, in Barnesville, Georgia.

Wines' experience at Gordon left him with a lifetime fondness for the school.

Montrese Adger-Fuller, vice president of advancement, external relations and marketing at Gordon State College, said in an email that Wines had donated trees, shrubs and flowers to the school since his high school golden reunion (Class of 1960) in 2010 and junior college reunion in 2012.

"(Bob Wines) attended every alumni weekend since his golden reunion, and if a plant had died, he would bring one to replace it," Adger-Fuller wrote.

She said Wines was instrumental in getting many alumni to return to the campus.

"His class dedicated at least five memorial trees/gardens with bronze plaques, and Mr. Wines donated the trees/shrubs to go along with the plaques," she wrote.

Wines donated landscape for sites at the school including cherry trees, a camellia garden, a rose garden and an oak tree.

Wines earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1966. He then worked with Marion County Public Schools, teaching at schools including Howard Academy and Belleview Elementary, according to the family. He also taught at Grace Episcopal School.

The start of the family business

In the late 1970s, a garden first planted in the early 1950s by Bob Wines' father, Robert Wines Sr., would become the origins of Bob Wines Nursery Garden Center & Landscaping and Camellia Garden.

The elder Wines operated Bob Wines Marine Service, which had a location on South Pine Avenue in Ocala. He had a house built south of Ocala in 1952 in the 2600 block of Southeast 38th Street. He planted a garden in 1952 adjacent to the house. It was filled with the camellias and azaleas he collected as a hobby in his travels.

Bob Wines Nursery Garden Center & Landscaping and Camellia Garden expanded over the years to five and a half acres, with all types of camellias, bougainvillea and many other plants and ground cover, plus large trees and "hummingbird and butterfly" plants like Fire Stick. Robert Wines Sr. died in 2013 at age 95.

A love of camellias

Bob Wines Jr. enjoyed grafting plants, Maryanne Nowlan said. Williams commented that he liked working with large trees like red maple and oaks, but camellias were "his love."

The nursery is decorated with rural artifacts, such as an old tractor and an actual chicken coop with a live rooster.

Williams called the nursery, still in the 2600 block of Southeast 38th Street, a "hidden gem."

Tributes from customers come streaming in

A visit to the nursery this past Saturday found many friends and customers walking the grounds looking at the wide variety of plants and flowers. Nowlan said visitors would often just enjoy an afternoon browsing.

Edward Lockridge, a customer for 20 years, called Bob Wines a "very kind" man who knew his customers.

Philanthy Nichols of On Top of the World was an avid gardener in Ohio. She purchased petunias from the nursery and planted them at her home.

"The first thing I did (when she was ready to plant flowers) was scope out the local nurseries with good plant experts I could rely on for good advice. That's how I became a customer of Bob Wines Nursery," she texted.

Tim Horvath, a customer for three years, said the azaleas are "beautiful," and he has purchased milkweed to raise butterflies. The plants are "my therapy," he said. He praised the planting advice he received from Maryanne Nowlan and cashier Karen Perkins.

Customer Jennifer Pohlers said plants from the nursery "saved me" by inspiring activity during the pandemic.

Jim Hope, a Vietnam War veteran and customer for 10 years, was buying a plant for a former Ocala resident who moved to Ormond Beach and wanted a plant specifically from Bob Wines'.

"(Bob Wines) would hold court and answer customers' questions (about caring for plants) as he sat in a golf cart," Hope recalled.

Sharon Davis and Chip Parsons, also of OTOW, were looking at the Bleeding Heart plants, violets and azaleas. Davis said her parents had a home in the OTOW community in 2006 which was landscaped with plants from the nursery.

"(The nursery) is part of the family," she said.

Published 10:02 PM. EDT Tue. Apr 13, 2021

Below is an article that was written by Fred Hiers at the Ocala StarBanner

Longtime Ocala nurseryman
Bob Wines Sr. dead at 95

Robert Wines stood Friday in front of his parent's home and admired the camellias his father planted more than 60 years ago. Wines, 70, is still amazed at the breadth of his father's interests.

Bob Wines Sr. died Wednesday at Sylvia's Hospice House in Ocala. He was 95.

The senior Wines soured the country for variations of camellias before he started a nursery on 38th Avenue in Ocala in 1953, now called Bob Wines Camellia Gardens. In 1950, he had opened Bob Wines Marine Service on South Pine Avenue. He sold that business 20 years later.

The younger Wines said his father began that business out of his love for fishing and boating, the same way he started the nursery. He said his father saw a niche for the business and combined his hobby and business sense to a profitable end.

He was not a man to stand still, his son said.

"When you look back over everything he did, it was amazing," Wines said. "He was my captain all his life. He guided me and directed me with his great wisdom and knowledge."

Bob Wines Sr. was born Jan. 1, 1918, in Dublin, Ga., to Allen and Ida Wines, who owned and operated a lumber company. In 1921, he and his family moved to Sumter County, where he attended grade school and graduated from Wildwood High School in 1937. Ten years later, he became one of the founders of the Ocala Boat Club, which still exists today.

Wines was a gifted businessman and showman. To market his Carter Craft boats and promote the manufacture's claim that the vessels were nearly unsinkable, in 1961 he had one of his boats on Lake Weir driven headlong into a floating steel drum in front of a crowd of people. When the water calmed, a newspaper article about the event reported, the drum was the worse for wear but the boat, with its patented Royalite coating, was upright and floating.

Wines also used his Ocala connections to introduce Carter Craft boats and Johnson outboard motors to Silver Springs during the park's water shows. At the time, he was the only Johnson distributor in the area.

About that time, Wines also began cultivating azaleas and camellias, growing them on a commercial scale. He fished and hunted in many states and it was during those trips, his son said, that he collected variations of the plants and expanded his collection. In about 1948, he bought three acres of what is now Bob Wines Camellia Gardens. He built the house he and his wife would live in for the next 60 years at the site and slowly bought more land to accommodate the growing nursery.

So successful were his camellias and azaleas that he sold most of the collection to the Norris Cattle Company, which used them to landscape the Rainbow Springs and Homosassa Springs parks.

Bob Wines Jr. said his father's goal was to retire early and enjoy his interests full-time, which was the motivation to sell his marine business in his early 50s. But he wasn't one to sit idle, and went on more hunting and fishing expeditions after retiring. His wife of 74 years, Adean, was a school teacher, and the couple often traveled together during summers.

Wines also pursued another interest: gemstones. He taught himself to cut the stones, but enrolled in classes to learn how to set them and work with metal to make jewelry. He gave some pieces away and sold some at craft shows.

Wines also described as congenial and outgoing. Even at 95, he continued to visit the nursery, which his son and Laurie Williams operate, to see how things were going.

"He was wonderful. He was very kind," Williams said.

Four weeks ago, Wines was still healthy enough to mow his own lawn. When he became tired and wanted only to sleep, his family took him to the hospital and from there was care for by Hospice of Marion County. Bob Wines Jr. son said his father died of natural causes Wednesday morning. One of the last things he told his father was that he loved him.

"He was my friend as well as my father," he said.

Bob Wines Sr. is survived by his wife and son, daughter-in-law Mary Wines, granddaughters Bobbye Lynn Wines and Maryanne Wines-Nowlan and great-granddaughter Harper Rae Nowlan, all of Ocala.

04:58 PM. EDT Fri. May 24, 2013

Below is an article that was written by Nancy Scharmach at the Ocala StarBanner

Flowers aplenty

Father, son do their part to keep winters bright

What do Betty Sheffield, Mrs. D. W. Davis, and Charlie Bettes have in common? Unless you are a lover of camellias you wouldn't know they are all varieties of camellia japonicas. For Southern gardeners blooming camellias are the rose of winter. While most garden plants spend winter taking a well earned rest, camellias are just getting warmed up.

Bob Wines, Sr. began collecting a variety of camellia plants in 1952 as a hobby. He was in the marine industry at the time, and he and his wife, Mary, took car trips around Alabama, Georgia and Florida and brought home camellia plants that they loved. His first collection was sold to a local landscaper, and Bob decided that this was a great way to turn his hobby into a business so he left the marine industry and opened a plant nursery.

Bob Wines, Jr., after college, taught reading in a local elementary school until the lure of the camellias brought a change in career for him as well. Now two generations of Wineses are proud that they have over 1,000 camellia plants of all varieties, in their nursery. They still have five of the original bushes growing and blooming after 50 years.

Bob Wines, Sr. and Bob Wines, Jr.

"For almost 200 years camellias have been part of the Southern landscape," Bob Jr. said as he drove in a golf cart with his dog Daisy through the gardens. "We love to have visitors come out during the blooming season which is from the middle of October through March. We can show them the wide variety of flowers available, and help them start their own collection."

The Wineses recommend attending the Ocala Camellia Society's annual show which will be held Jan. 28-29.

According to them, very few plants brighten the Ocala winter scene with brilliant colors like camellias. "Camellias can be grown in containers, hanging baskets, and of course as landscaping plants," Bob Jr. said. "They thrive and produce better flowers in partial shade in well-drained soil, although there are varieties that will grow in full sun." Gardeners and would-be gardeners are invited to visit Bob Wines Nursery and Camellia Gardens. You'll definitely want to bring your camera as you walk the paths among the flowering beauties. The Camellia Gardens are at 2610 S.E. 28th St. (off Lake Weir Avenue), Ocala. Hours: weekdays 9 to 5, Sundays 11 to 3 through Christmas.

Updated Dec. 6, 2005