Every adventure in an old camellia garden is an opportunity to make new friends and discover old jewels that have been lost to time. In our new world of social distancing, exploring old gardens can sometimes allow us to shelter in place and avoid excessive human contact. Recently, I have had more time to wander with purpose through these treasure chests of the past and make many new, or should I say old friends! It is extremely satisfying to get reacquainted with old camellias that you remember from the past, but even more exciting to see old varieties that you never knew. The beauty of these old gardens is beyond comprehension. If you need to socially distance yourself from other humans, why not find an escape in an old camellia garden?
This issue’s featured Lost Love is Camellia japonica ‘Princess Lavender’. This stunningly beautiful camellia was introduced in the Wilkinson Gardens of Pensacola, Florida and introduced in 1950. It is noted for its large flower along with its unusual lavender flower color. In a world where the latest always seems to be the greatest, maybe we should reevaluate our thoughts. Many times, the best has already been introduced and forgotten, and it is our job to rediscover it. Why not get out there with me in the old gardens and find you own Lost Loves?
Gene Phillips has a passion for camellia preservation and writes a regular feature column for the American Camellia Society’s Camellia Journal. To read more of these columns, join the American Camellia Society by visiting their website at www.americancamellias.com