Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Camellia garden

The Camellia garden at the Illawarra Rhododendron Gardens
What I like about this garden is that the Camellia japonica varieties are semi hidden behind a Camellia sasanqua hedge. There is a gap in the hedge where you enter into a shady nook with a winding path so the big C japonica varieties can be seen up close. In the background, the tall gum trees provide some shade and valuable leaf litter mulch.
Though they are very nice to enjoy when in flower, these Camellias present a fairly gloomy and stiff picture for most of the year. I have come around to thinking it is the Camellia reticulata varieties which are the most desirable, though as scarce as hen's teeth in the nursery scene. They are more open in habit as shrubs and more flamboyant in their appearance as flowers. 
The camellia as a symbol of worldly vanities as apposed to humble virtue, is shown in this Victorian era English picture. The actress Ellen Terry (1847-1928) is tempted by the bold but scentless Camellias while holding violets in her hand.

'Choosing' 1864
George Frederic Watts (1817-1904)
National Portrait Gallery, London
Ellen Terry is wearing her wedding dress in a very fetching colour ! She married Watts in that year but stayed married to him for less than a year.

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