Camellia japonica – rose of winter

Camellia japonica, 1838

“Camellia japonica, var Doneklaarii” lithograph with full original hand colour, published in Robert Mudie’s Gleanings of Nature, 1838.’Image courtesy of ancestryimages.com’.

It was sort of sad ,working in the garden today,the cold spring wind not letting the already strong sun to heat the soil up.I did a big job cleaning the leaves from garden beds , fighting with the early weed and cutting the roses.I miss first rose buds a lot and I can’t wait to smell roses of early summer.Winter is always too long for me.

As I got my work in the garden done I’ve treated myself with a cup of tea and some WordPress time 😉 .Having my husband’s gift  Camellia  japonica just in front of me, there was no chance to write about anything else as camellia,  winter rose.Drinking tea-botanically Camellia synensis , which is nothing less as the first cousin of Camellia japonica, I was thinking about Georg Joseph Camel,a young  Jesuit missionary whose name Linne donned to genus Camellia.How far did this young man had to go in 1700 and something to make it possible for me now to enjoy camellia in my living room?The first set of his botanical drawings newer arrived in Europe ,I may imagine the pirates conquering those weren’t as happy as they would be with some solid money (hey, it didn’t change much till today).

Then I remembered The Lady of the Camellias, Alexandre Dumas son, Ferenc Liszt , La Traviata and Greta Garbo in Camille I’ve watched so long ago, but still remember divine Garbo and white Camellia she had .Garbo won 1938 Oscar for the best actress and TIME listed Camille top 100 movies ewer.What a journey for Camellia-from far East to Europe in spite of pirates,from japanese wildlife to european botanical gardens,from literature to film,from old paintings to Oscars, from monk to Chanel, from Verdi to my living room. Not bad for a scentless flower….


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