A Walk in the Camellia Wood

I spent a good part of yesterday in the Descanso Gardens, located in the city of Flintridge, California.  This is an active and ever-changing garden, located on a property of (I think) 150 acres.  Multiple gardens are found throughout the area, with various sections of native California represented – desert, riparian, chaparral – as well as other specialized sections, such as a Japanese garden and a camellia wood (my name for it).

Camellias are interesting plants.  Most of the ones I have seen in yards and gardens are pruned to be short.  The ones in the Descanso Gardens are big – really, really tall – and spread out over acres it seems.  Right now, some have come into bloom and dropped their petals like pink and red rain over the dried oak leaves.  Others are just beginning to bud.  Many are mixed, with buds and flowers.  I can only imagine what it might be like in 6 weeks’ time.  With paths winding in and out of the camellias, one can sit on a bench or scuffle through it all.

Besides the camellias, there are oak trees, old and gnarly.  I love oak trees, and to see these always is pleasurable.  Don’t you think that old oaks are the source of scary trees in fairy tales and the origin of Ents?  Druids worshipped them, and the Romans burned the sacred groves.  Oaks are powerful and magical – I never tire seeing nor photographing them.

The Descanso Gardens are ever-changing, depending on season and, perhaps, muse.

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3 thoughts on “A Walk in the Camellia Wood”

  1. I’m so glad you wrote this post. I live in Tennessee but grew up in Pasadena. Playing in the camelia wood was one of my finest childhood memories and I”ve gone so many times since to walk, paint, photograph and just be. One time I took my spindle and walked through the tallest reds and spun while hummingbirds followed me down the path. The camelias were as tall as houses in that particular spot. I have been so worried that the wind storms did damage to this sacred place. Bless you for blogging!

  2. Celeste – I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. Yes, the place is magical. I can imagine it being a very fine place for childhood memories – my own are based on the rural areas of the midwest and New York, and they still carry a sense of magic and mystery. We saw a number of families there, and the kids were certainly enjoying it all. The camellias all seem to be quite happy (just bursting with buds!), so it seems the winds and wild weather have not caused any damage. I think, too, they are rather sheltered because of the hills and other trees. – N

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