I moved to North Carolina, the first time, in the winter of 1964-65. I came down from Indiana, where the snow lay about a dozen inches on the ground, and the streets were salt and ice encrusted. I had never been farther south than Cincinnati, before that trip. When we pulled into the driveway of our new home, flanking the front steps, were two huge camellia bushes in full bloom in the dead of winter. I thought I had come to paradise.
Upon my second move to North Carolina, my sister and I carved out two flower beds, and I chose a camellia as one of the shrubs to plant. This is a fledgling bush, and hasn’t bloomed in the last four years, though it is definitely growing. One winter, it was filled with buds, but we had a hard freeze which nipped each and every one of them. Sigh.
Last summer, my camellia, getting taller, needed to be moved to the back of the bed. It was filled with the beginnings of what should become flowers, and I thought the move would bring about another season of no camellias.
I was wrong! My camellia is loaded with beautiful red blooms, and I remembered the first camellias I saw. Flowers at any time of the year make my heart sing, but unexpected ones are a joy to behold.