I went to the American Camellia Society's Convention hosted by the Ocala Camellia Society. I'm not even sure why I went. Only three of the camellias I bought last year survived and only one of those produced a few, wholly unspectacular blooms. Perhaps I was going as one last attempt before I gave up entirely and ripped the puppies out. Perhaps I went because Dave agreed to take the munchkin for the afternoon and I was a free woman with nothing else to do. Regardless of why I went, I was glad I did. It was extremely inspiring.
I was moved by how many varieties they had. There were flowers as large and showy as hibiscus, as compact and elegant as roses and small and dainty as buttercups. I especially liked the bloom above, a japonica "Tom Kundsen". It is a vibrant pink edged in purple. Another I liked (and seemed to be quite popular) was "Black Magic", a dark magenta bloom with large yellow stamens. The most fun for me was just listening to other gardeners. Even though I was a good 20 years younger than almost anyone there, it was nice to hear people just as concerned about upcoming frosts and spider mites as I was.
The names of the flowers were interesting too. "Betty Sheffield", "Tom Kundsen", "Frank Houser", "Mona Jury", "Mary Alice Cox". It begs the question, who are these people? Are they from a nursery, college professors, little old ladies in there garden? I bought (of course) a "Prof. Sargent" camellia with small orange-red flowers, and quick search of web gave me pretty much no info on who Prof. Sargent was (or is). Perhaps I'll check the library to see if anyone has written a book about this interesting plant and the people who developed it.