Thursday, February 4, 2010

Camille -- La Dame aux Camilias


Marguerite was always present at every first night, .... and she invariably had three things with her on the ledge of her ground-floor box: her opera-glass, a bag of sweets, and a bouquet of camellias.
.... it was noticed both by her friends and by the habitues of the theatres to which she most often went. She was never seen with any flowers but camellias. At the florist's, Madame Barjon's, she had come to be called "the Lady of the Camellias," and the name stuck to her.

By Alexandre Dumas, fils

Cold weather has not been kind to the edges of white camellias in my garden this year, so I'm showing whites from previous years:

My fav red, 'Blood of China' from last year. They do not begin to bloom until well into spring, often dropping buds from heat in April. Lots of buds are waiting for the proper time to open.

What made the camellia so significant to the story of Camille was that it is practically scentless. Marguerite Gautier carried only white or red camellias, to signal her availability. She was dying of consumption, and the camellia was the only bloom which did not make her cough.  

Greta Garbo and Robert Taylor in Camille death scene

LA TRAVIATA: --Maria Callas as Violetta Valerie (Camille).

These last 3 pics were taken on January 30.
Open buds are susceptible to frost; tight buds survive to bloom later.

The Side Bar Poll asks about flowers you consider as Funeral Flowers.
My mother thought White Mums to be the most appropriate, sometimes making exceptions of lavender mums for the funeral of very elderly ladies.
My niece sends White Roses.


  1. I love that you included various videos in your camellia post. :D That red camellia is so beautiful! My camellia isn't looking so hot this late winter. I wish I could go back a year ago, and pick a different one. It was a Valentine's Day gift though, and I'll probably keep it even if it's sickly and looks terrible lol.

  2. Loving all your camellias! Nice to know other people's dogs aren't always perfect in the garden - sorry about your not so good Wednesday:)

  3. Bummer you had a rough Wednesday. I hope today is much, much better. I'm glad to know your sweet dog didn't hurt those Violas!

  4. I didn't know that tidbit about camellias not having a scent, although I've seen or heard La Traviata many times. Guess that outs me as not having any in my garden. As for your other post - I can sympathize. I had a bout with "feed burning" when I first signed up with Blotanical that I don't want to go through again.

  5. Hello Nell Jean,

    Thankfully, after a bad Wednesday, there is Thursday :^) Your Camellia pictures from last year are so beautiful. Maybe your dog felt that you needed more....

  6. How beautiful! My dad in California collected a few camelias they were his favorites, alas they would never live here. Thanks for the memory

  7. Neil Jean,

    Enjoyed your camellias! I have a scented pink one to plant in the basement. The recent cold weather forced me to put them in the basement. Hoping you'll have some stunning blooms before long!

  8. I know Camellia japonica has no scent, and I have grown them for many years - but I am constantly sticking my nose in the blooms, just in case.

  9. Sorry to note about the mess in Blotanical. Thanks for the valuable tip.

    I love all your Camellias they all look so pretty.

  10. Kyna, it may look better when spring comes. The old leaves will shed as new leaves come on. Look on the back of the leaves for scale, which a little oil spray will take care of.

    Thank you all for being sympathetic to my bum day, which really wasn't that bad.

    Les, a pretty blossom will just naturally find its way to our nose, they look as if they should smell good. I even smell of dahlias, lol.

    If you watched the first video, didn't you think Robert Young looked so very different as he did in 'Father Knows Best'?

  11. The weather has sure played havoc with camellias this winter! I've been afraid to look at mine! I am so sorry to hear about the BLotanical problems~~not fun! gail

  12. It only seems fitting that I comment real name is Camille. Not Rosey. But that is beside the point. I really wanted to say how beautiful your Camellias are and that you are so blessed to have such blooms in your garden.
    Love the videos.

  13. Your camellias are lovely! I love the colors although I must admit, white camellias are my favorite.

  14. I am sorry about your blotanical plot; I hope it is fixed soon! This post on camellias is beautiful. I was thinking of camellias,too! Thanks for picking my "Was it worth it?" post. I think a drive lined with camellias would be gorgeous! I do have an area I am thinking of planting to have my own camellia walk. I haven't decided for sure, as there are so many wonderful shrubs to choose from!

  15. Your whites are stunning. The camellias are blooming profusely down here right now... so pretty.
    I only have one young camellia plant but my neighbor has THE most beautiful shrubs I get to enjoy.

  16. Sorry for your blotanical plot. Your reds are amazing :)

  17. Dear NellJean, I loved the way you opened your posting with a quotation from Dumas, so evocative and so appropriate. Camellias are surely amongst the aristocrats of garden shrubs but do need, as you observe, to be planted away from the morning sun. The great pity for me of the white flowered varieties is that they tend to fade off rather badly.

    Personally, I find flowers at funerals rather depressing; simple flowers or sprigs taken from the garden would be my choice.


I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.

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