The last of the Camellias

Winter is over and so too are Camellias. They bloom from December into early April. Here are the last blooms from my plants which I overwinter in a cold room in my house.

Camellia with branch of Cherry.
The vase is by the Navajo American artist Samuel Manymules.

 

Same branch of Cherry. Different Camellia and vase. This Shigaraki style vase is by Sue Kotulek

Same branch of Cherry. Different Camellia and vase.
This Shigaraki style vase is by Sue Kotulek

The light in the tea house is natural and wonderful when dark and dusky. It shows off this pale pink Camellia highlighted by the grey, subdued vase by Sue Kotulek. The branch is a budding Pussy Willow. the scroll reads: “Everyday is a good day.”

The light in the tea house is natural and wonderful when dark and dusky. It shows off this pale pink Camellia highlighted by the grey, subdued vase by Sue Kotulek. The branch is a budding Pussy Willow. The scroll reads:“Everyday is a good day.”

Not only are the buds of a Camellia beautiful, but so too are the glossy, green leaves. Here they are paired with a branch of budding Magnolia in a vase by Frances Palmer.

Not only are the buds of a Camellia beautiful, but so too are the glossy, green leaves. Here they are paired with a branch of budding Magnolia in a vase by Frances Palmer.

A small, intimate garden

I went over to Olana the other day looking for trees that had big leaves. I needed a leaf to use as a lid on a glass water container for tea. Here you can see the leaves I collected. The vase is the squiggly shaped glass object – designed by Alvaro Alto.

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Olana, which is five minutes from my house, is the Persian style home of Hudson River artist Frederic Church. After an 18-month trip to Europe and the Middle East, Church hired architect Calvert Vaux and worked with him on the design of the mansion, which was constructed between 1870 and 1872. It sits on top of a hill with sweeping views of the Hudson River and the Catskills.

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Olana is a grand and fascinating place

I had just returned from a month in Italy. The only garden I saw on the trip was the Boboli garden in Florence which is a huge, formal and cold place to my eyes. There were a lot of tall hedges and massive areas that implied wealth and prestige. It wasn’t interesting to me at all.

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Boboli Garden in Florence, Italy

But now I was back home and at Olana. I decided to wander over to the flower garden which I hadn’t seen in a couple of years. It’s a tiny garden by a wall out of sight of the house. There are no grand gestures or sweeping views of the mountains. It’s a small and intimate place with a path that seems to meander with no haste. Truly a great garden with no artifice. Enjoy!

Flowers spilling over the path. A smoke bush in the far back. Different heights of planting. The path curves.

Flowers spilling over the path. A smoke bush in the far back.
Different heights of planting. The path curves.

The path curves up and hugs the wall. Blue delphinum, purple catmint and the leaves of peony and grasses lead the way.

The path curves up and hugs the wall. Blue Delphinum, purple Catmint
and the leaves of peony and grasses lead the way. 

Almost to the end with the view in site. Leaves of Iris, pink Hollyhock and always a smattering of yellow.

Almost to the end with the view in site. Leaves of Iris, pink Hollyhock and
a splash of yellow Heliopsis

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The garden is enchanting and how wonderful to find this bench where
I could sit and reflect on the quiet beauty of the place.

 

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When I set out on my quest for a leaf to cover the Alvaro Alto vase I never
thought it would lead me to this magical place.

For more about Olana

Camellias

In winter a Camellia is the preferred flower in the tearoom. It blooms from October through April. Each flower may last for several days but only the bud is used with a deciduous branch from a shrub or tree such as Viburnam or Fothergilla.

The structure of the branch is what is most appreciated. During a tea gathering, which can last four hours, the Camellia bud will slowly open.

– excerpt A Tea Garden in Tivoli

Camellias grow well in moist mild winter areas like the Southeast, California and the Pacific Northwest. Here in Zone 5, I overwinter potted Camellias in a cold room in my house

Camellias are native to China and Japan. They grow well in moist mild winter areas.
Here in Zone 5, I overwinter potted Camellias in a cold room of my house

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This Camellia is called Shiro Wabisuke which I ordered
from Nuccio”s Nurseries
www.nucciosnurseries.com
It will have small, single white blossoms.

There are over 250 species of Camellias. The most widely grown are the Camellia Japonica. In the United States , Camellias grow well in moist, mild winter areas like the South, California, and the Pacific Northwest.

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Camellia Japonica with a branch of Fothergilla. The vase is a Native American Navajo pot.

Camellia Japonica with a branch of Arrowood Viburnam.
The vase is a Native American Navajo pot.

Camellia called Akebono

Camellia called Akebono “Dawn”. The vase is by the American potter Frances Palmer.

While the flowers are very beautiful, only the bud is used in Tea. It will slowly open during the tea gathering.

While the flowers are very beautiful, only the bud is used in Tea.
It will slowly open during the tea gathering.

Links:
Nuccio”s Nursery
Frances Palmer Pottery

Arrange flowers as if they were growing wild in a field

The Tea Ceremony as we know it today was created in 16th century Japan by the Tea master Rikyu. The flowers in the tea room are placed according to his insight and reveal an aesthetic of simple restraint. He said “To arrange flowers is to express the life of flowers.”

Each flower is enjoyed for its distinct color, shape, size and seasonal bloom. Equally appreciated are the vases that hold the flowers. They”re varied: rough pottery for use in winter, baskets in all shapes and sizes for summer, smooth bronze and blue and white porcelain for formal occasions. The flowers and vases have stories to tell, and in the tea room they are talked about and admired.

excerpt – A Tea Garden in Tivoli