Monday, February 11, 2008

Camellia Time Again

I enjoyed a brief stroll with my daughter at the historic Thomas Center in Gainesville, FL this afternoon. Since it's Camellia Time, I've taken this opportunity to post photos of some of the blooms to be seen on the grounds as Spring begins.
[click on images to enlarge]

Camellias are gorgeous this time of year in Florida. Some blooms are as broad as compact discs (items the present generation will fondly remember as "CD's"). The evanescent blooms of these and other flowers are much prettier and more important.

A white Camellia photographed in deep shade. I can't look at red and white Camellias blooming together without thinking of Alice in Wonderland. The rest of the world may associate that story's Red Queen with roses (or beheading) - the War of the Roses, and all that - but really, Camellias trump roses in terms of form and grace. This from a botanist who grew up around roses who now lives in the South where fine roses are scarce and mostly outside of their climatic range, and where Camellias in large part do just fine, provided they are nurtured with proper soil amendments on occasion.

Let us not forget that Azaleas are just now coming into season. OK you gardeners. Let's put you on notice. You want your Camellias and Azaleas to bloom? You'd better consult your local garden club, nursery, or private afficionado: These two species set their next year's buds at specific times of the year. Find out when your favorite shrubs set their buds lest you trim the shrubs and unknowingly (ignorantly) remove the buds in a flurry of Fall or Spring trimming and clean-up. You can find out. Look. Ask. Inquire. Your landscape will look better for it.

A couple enjoying the sunshine and fair weather on the Thomas Center grounds. The pair lends a sense of scale to the evergreen southern live oak tree in the right-hand side of the image.

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Camellia Time

It's Camellia Time in north central Florida. Nowhere near Clog House Est. 1935 can a prettier display of these stately shrubs be found than our local cemetery. The bushes are old and tall, and just now thickly adorned with blooms big as a man's fist.

Clog-Wife and I take a weekly stroll through the lovely cemetery with our Corgis every Sunday afternoon. It's a routine outing that we anticipate all weekend. We noted today that azaleas are beginning to bloom, and with redbuds and dogwood trees will soon storm the stage as the Camellias make their exit. Soon the cemetery will be arrayed in a bedazzling tide of pinks and whites and reds.

Peaceful strolls midst the South's loveliest flowers await. For now, its Camellia Time, and we are awed by this most regal of garden species.

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