Party in Pink

Posted by & filed under Formal Gardens, Shrubs.

I spent the weekend in the Camellia Garden, enjoying a wonderful Valentine’s Day party.  Hundreds of camellias were there and most of them were all decked out in their party clothes, ready to have some fun.  They were all wearing shades of pink, red and white.  I felt really out of place, dressed in just yellow.  But it was a lot of fun.

Camellia x 'Valentine's Day'Camellia x ‘Valentine’s Day’

At a party this big, you are going to meet a lot of different personalities.  Most of the ones here are pretty cool in their own way.  Some you enjoy for the moment while others you really want to spend some time with.  I spent the weekend mingling and talking with all sorts.  And of course, at an event this big, people watching is very popular.  I didn’t get to see too many people, but the plant watching is fabulous!  Let me tell you about some of them.

I’ll start with our hostess, Camellia ‘Valentine’s Day’.  She’s a true beauty with large, full petals that are a rich shade of pink.  The big flowers are an example of her gregarious nature.  Like the perfect hostess, she sits in the middle of the garden, greeting everyone that comes by.

Formal double - many rows of petals with hidden stamens.There are other typical characters at this party.  There are those that want to meet everyone so they stand near the entrance.  One pair is the tall and elegant ‘Faith’ and the smaller but no less beautiful ‘Lady Clare’.  These two pink lovelies are standing along the road leading past the garden, inviting everyone in.  There are classic beauties that everyone is drawn to and wants to be around.  ‘Mrs. Tingley’ and ‘Apollo’ are two such ladies.  Of course every party features a silver-haired grand dame and the species Camellia yuhsienensis fills the role nicely, sitting elegantly near the pond, covered in delicate white petals.

Camellia x 'Sweet Jane'Camellia x ‘Sweet Jane’

A good party needs the outgoing types.  ‘Grand Slam’, ‘Mister Sam’ and ‘Hot Shot’ are exuberant flowers that are show-offs.  The ‘Fir Cone Varietgated’  with its many layers of petals looks just like a lady wearing a feather boa.  ‘Fragrant Pink’ is completely covered in delicate pink flowers that carry a light scent. ‘Man Size’ is actually not as big has him name implies – the flower is only a couple of inches across.  However, the riot of petals in the center of the blossom proves that his personality is way bigger than the flower.

Camellia japonica 'Tinsie'Camellia japonica ‘Tinsie’

There are the shy and eccentric.  ‘Sweet Jane’ is a lovely little white flower with a hint of blush on the outer petals.  I’m tempted to call her a wall flower, but there are no walls in this garden.  ‘Tinsie’ is an unusual flower – a single set of petals held in a funnel form and a mass of stamens in the center.  A few steps away is the aptly named ‘Black Prince’ with velvety dark petals that have a hint of purple in the deep red.  The personality is about as brooding as his name implies and I had a hard time talking to him.

All in all I had a great time, but I had to leave.  I really need more sunshine than they have in there.  From what I can tell though, the party is still rocking.  I hear it will be that way for several weeks.  You should take the opportunity to stop by and meet some of them.  They are nice, interesting and pretty welcoming – even you aren’t wearing pink.