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white camellias

On 25, Dec 2014 | No Comments | In plants, wintergarden | By All Year Garden

We arrived in Fairhope the day after Christmas, when a forty five degree chill accompanied a spectacular orange, purple and crimson sunset on the bay. The camellias were in bloom, contradicting the holiday decorations and the season altogether.

I haven’t seen camellias before, I am a dweller of the northern plains, we only know hyacinths, peonies, and cherry trees in bloom. The bushes were covered in perfect flowers, especially the white ones, flawless to the last detail. I was surprised to find out they were not fragrant, I always assumed they were because of their connection to the story of lost innocence and sacrifice for love. Alas, la dame aux camellias was only obsessed with them because they echoed her name.

I spent some time trying to find a perfect angle to photograph these flowers, they are so stunning in mass that picking a specimen to represent them was really hard. A treacherous wind kept moving the branches and blurring the photos but I persevered and chased the perfect image up a steep incline, a place made for living things with roots, not winter bundled vacationers in heels. The sun was setting over the Gulf of Mexico and the mellow light tinged the pure white flowers with a hint of coral dust.

They are a lot wilder than I thought, I always imagined camellias delicate and high maintenance like orchids, growing in the humid air of a green house and saturating the air with fragrance.

Since my constant optimism has no longing for the good old days when tuberculosis wasn’t treatable and social status was an immovable barrier I didn’t resonate with the story of consumption and redeeming self-sacrifice, but I have to agree that white camellias are very romantic indeed.