Long before Spring gets into full swing… Camellias grace the South with their gorgeous blooms. The Camellia is the state flower of Alabama and rightly so, from the southernmost coastal region to the northern border, Camellias thrive.
An old gardener had a prolific Camellia bush- ‘Yep, she blooms her fool head off, right in the dead of winter all the way to spring.’ I asked the secret of his Camellia- he replied- ‘Well honey, it’s where she’s planted, close to home and always facing South.’
Camellias, Azaleas and Gardenias make up the distinctly feminine fragrance of the South. Native to South China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea- Camellias are a member of the Tea family- is it any wonder we Southerners love our Sweet Tea and Camellias? Alabama author Harper Lee put a White Camellia in a supporting role in ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ and CoCo Chanel elevated the White Camellia to star status as her trademark lapel pin.
From glossy evergreen leaves, to tight buds and flowers that open and fall as one whole flower…Camellias are completely non-poisonous. I love this about Camellias- from bud to flower to the shedding of blooms, the Camellia’s motto would be- ‘We rise and fall as one.’
Blooming from October to April, Camellias symbolize Love in all Forms, from friendship, romantic love and love of a parent for a child- also Everlasting Devotion and Perfect Unity.
For me, the Camellia in all of her glory represents blooming despite adversity and the ability to withstand anything with grace and beauty.
Love y’all, Camellia
* These beautiful photographs were taken right here in Alabama by photographer-Jeremy Miniard to whom we are indebted for his generosity and talent. Find Jeremy at http://www.jeremy.miniard.fineartamerica.com. *Camellia Japonica is the most common type grown in the South, there are literally 100’s of varieties- some with the distinctive ‘crown’ in the center and some doubles or single blooms. Azaleas, Gardenias and Camellias all like acidic Southern Soil and enjoy the same growing conditions- however the Camellia is generally the easiest of the three to cultivate in the South. In other regions, above Zone 8-Camellias are reliably grown indoors. The rest of the year, Camellias are a beautiful landscape shrub with dark pointed green leaves- and y’all…one of my favorite things about Camellias is soo like the South I know- Camellias produce nuts!