Camellias are my favorite flowers. They are considered “winter flowers” since February is the typical blooming time for them. My mother’s shaded backyard in Florida was (and is, though she’s now deceased and the house now rented out) covered with camellia and azalea bushes. Since I left Florida when I was 25 years old and typically visit either in summer or fall, I haven’t feasted my eyes on many since then. Imagine my delight then when my new online friend Bobbie in California emailed me these beauties earlier this week.
It’s not quite the same as holding them in my hand and sniffing (camellias typically don’t have a strong scent, it’s just that they so beautiful you assume they must smell as good), but it’s real eye candy to my winter-weary eyes and soul. As you can see, the photographs were made on Monday, so these are very likely still there looking fresh and magnificent.
This first photo shows a “double” bloom. As Bobbie pointed out in her email, it perfectly illustrates the two centers.
She can’t remember the names of these beauties, but calls this one “God’s Perfection.” If it isn’t really called that by the Camellia Society, well, it ought to be!
From my “camellia research” I’m tempted to say this one is “Seafoam,” but there are so many hundreds of varieties, it’s hard to know for sure not being a horticulturist.
I’ve spent time the last two days looking at online pictures of camellias on various websites. (Hubby says I’m crazy! but what does he know?) In case you’re a nut for flowers in general, and camellias in particular, or–like me–just a blooming idiot who can hardly get enough of looking at real or online camellias, I’ve culled the list down to these four. Enjoy as many or few (or none) as you wish.
The American Camellia Society is a good place to begin. Here you can peak at the free gallery preview without being a member. To begin, click on the small camellia photo on the right. Should anyone encounter problems, I hope you’ll let me know.
The second site lists cold hardy camellia varieties, since I gave a tiny bit of thought about trying one here in my backyard. (I probably won’t unless I wake up one morning to find myself miraculously 20 years younger!)
This site lets you have a look at Jim Dwyer’s camellia photographs , a veritable feast of every conceivable bloom, color and variety. If there’s one you remember from way back and wonder about (such as I was wondering if I could find a picture of one of my favorites from childhood, “Professor Sargeant,” you’ll probably see it here!) These web albums are listed alphabetically by name, and this link takes you into the first one. From there you should be able to navigate all the way through Z at your leisure.
There there’s this final but really quick one, Greer Gardens, for a one-page potpouri of the more rare and unusual varieties.
Back to Bobbie in California, who tells me that–at age 81–she feels she’s not as able to keep her garden up as she once was and may have to hire someone to help her, I’m only 65 (66 in May) and Hubby and I hired on with a garden service last fall. Just enjoy your garden no matter who does the work. Again, thank you very much for bringing a little much-needed color and beauty into my week and allowing me to share it here on Wintersong!
Wonderful to read about camellias. My own camellia bush is now blooming at the kitchen door and soon I’ll be in Seattle where my daughter has four bushes the size of trees just loaded with blooms. They are all luscious and the flowers are just as beautiful after they fall to the ground and become brown. You have inspired me to post a photo of my camellia.
Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos, Alice. It’s too early here for any blooming trees, although I look forward to lots of them. The East End of Pittsburgh has wonderful gardens. Right now there are only crocuses and skunk cabbage.
MM, how nice it must be to have blooming bushes so early. One of the things I most miss about Florida, besides late winter camellias, are the late winter and spring blossoms everywhere. I knew one house by the river with azalea bushes (trees) so tall, the owners had made pathways beneath them to walk to the river through. To cap it all off, the violets blanketed the the marshes.
Ruthe, Pittsburgh was my first home after I left Florida. It was there I first discovered crocus. I’m not sure if I was aware of them before, but Pittsburgh in May the first year I was there was so grey and rainy (imagine after the sunshine of Florida!) that I just thought there was no point in living any longer until the morning I saw my first crocus bed in bloom right outside my first apartment there.
Oh, so very beautiful. Thank you so much for the links too. I used to be an avid gardener, but we moved into a condo so we didn’t have to garden any more. There’s only so much time. Thank you Bobbie. 🙂
They are beautiful. I really enjoyed seeing them Thanks Bobbie for pics and for you allowing us all to see them.
I myself love Orange Tiger Lilys. Does anyone have any pics of them?
What beautiful pictures. Here in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, Spring is slow to arrive. Today with camera in hand I went for a walk, alas the day was hazy and lacked the signs of new growth. Your pictures brought sunshine to my heart.
They are so beautiful I can almost smell them! We are getting blossoms here in Southern Utah and buds on the trees.
Camellias and rhododendrons were my favorites, and I missed them so during the 35 years I lived in Las Vegas. I always recall rhodendrons growing wild when I used to go on concert bus tours from the Carolina’s down to Florida, and thought they were the most beautiful creations of god.
Now, back in California, I discovered a new plant I think is the most breathtaking,
the tuberous begonia. Hate to sound corny, or like a blooming idiot, but I tremble at the sight of its delicate beauty. The orchids take a close second.
Your friend’s photographs of the camellias are beautiful .