|New York Public Library|
From the book Les Fleurs Animees 1847
(The Flowers Animated)
Illustrated by French Caricaturist J.J. Grandeville
A single camellia occupying a moss-filled heart greeted the members of the Spring Beauty Garden Club. Our host's home situated along the banks of Black Creek, a stream which a century ago fed a nearby mill. The long drive taking me past an old barn of clapboard and cedar shake...winding along the twists of dark water, shadows cast by tall pines, the still dormancy animated by falling camellia petals. The rose of winter...blooms so welcome during the cold brown days of winter.
The blooms continued indoors. A camellia tree...stems of different varieties tucked into a moss covered tree form.
Cupid holding a waxed camellia. For waxing camellias see here
Our hosts set a beautiful table
Blooms of another kind...the light fixtures above my head, a set of two with bulbs dangling down like swollen buds poised to open. My jaw would have been hanging open with admiration had it not been full of handmade marshmallows (shipped in from a bakery in NYC) flavored with rosemary and roses.
My attention easily re-focused by our expert speaker. Raised in Hartsville, Mack McKinnon, generously returned to his hometown to share his passion for camellias. Past President and Founder of the Grand Strand Camellia Society, Mr. McKinnon guided us through their cultivation, care and qualities that make his blooms award winners.
A parade of specimens from his own collection. Grown in his hot house...variety in size, color, and density.
His advice for pruning camellia shrubs? Thin the shrub enough so that "you could throw a cat through it." A visual that will surely enter my mind every time I pick up my pruning shears.