Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Camellia - state flower of Alabama

Our state flower used to be the goldenrod. I remember learning this in grade school in the late 1960s but it turns out that the state flower was changed to the camellia in 1959. I guess school textbooks were not updated that often back then. Why the change? Well, some garden society ladies thought that the goldenrod was undeserving as the state flower and many considered it a weed (it was initially chosen by school kids in 1927 as their favorite flower). So, the state flower was changed to the camellia in 1959, and since there are different varieties of camellias, Camellia Japonica was specifically selected as the state flower in 1999. I don't know why it took forty years to do this.

I don't resent this decision and I have nothing against goldenrod (in fact, I grow it in the garden) but I'm absolutely gaga over camellias. I got the camellia fever a few years ago and planted a lot of them. Most are still very small. I think camellias are the perfect flower and I marvel at their symmetry and beauty.

This is peak season for the camellias and almost all of ours are blooming. Here is a sampling:

"Dr. Tinsley"




"Nuccio's Pearl"



"Magnoliaflora"



"Spring Festival"



And, I think this one is my favorite (at the moment at least)

"Taylor's Perfection"


Share/Bookmark

31 comments:

Sheila said...

All lovely blooms!

Cameron (Defining Your Home) said...

Phillip -- fantastic blooms and photography! You'd love coming up here to visit Camellia Forest Nursery.

cameron

Phillip said...

Thanks Sheila!

Cameron, I've always wanted to visit it - do you live close to it?

Digital Flower Pictures said...

Nice Collection. I think I like 'Spring Festival' the best. Camellias come within about 75 miles south of here. If you are near the shore and site it well it may grow in southern Connecticut. Too bad because it makes a great landscaping plant. You are lucky to be able to grow them.

BTW, the pictures of these and the bloom day were fantastic.

C. C. said...

Your flowers are gorgeous. The previous owner of our house planted camellias everywhere. There are so many that I tend to take them for granted ... more than 20 feet tall in colors of deep rose, red, white, pale pink, pure white, and even a striped rose and white. I don't know any of their names. They seem to be blooming all at once this year, which is unusual. I'll try to add a picture to my profile.

Phillip said...

Digital, coming from you, that is a major compliment!

Hi CC, thanks for visiting!

Les said...

Beautiful shots!. I have one Goldenrod, but I have 10 Camellias and am trying to figure where I will put some more - they are near the top of my favorite plants list.

Wayne said...

Ahhh, the southern garden hath many beautiful plants!

Juju said...

Awesome Phillip! Camellias were my Dad's favorite and he would get cuttings and root them from everywhere he went. Some were so double they look like carnations. I am going to try to get some photos and cuttings for you when I go back to the house in town. Your photos really bring back wonderful memories! Great Shots... Judy

Carolyn gail said...

I didn't realize until recently that Alabama's state flower was changed from Goldenrod to Camellia.

The Camellia is truly a beautiful flower but unfortunately one that I was not acquainted with growing up in the rural countryside.

Your collection is outstanding.

joey said...

I can see why you are gaga over your stunning camellias (so tempting to those of us who can't grow them :)

Grace Peterson said...

We've got camellias blooming here. They're amazing flowers.

Gail said...

Lovely Phillip...Just wonderful...I think I adore these flowers myself! You know I planted White By The Gate last week; then added coffee grounds to it this morning. Don't know if it will help but it certainly smells delicious! gail

Layanee said...

Raindrops just enhance their beauty!

Bren said...

Wonderful photos as always. I think I have to add a few of these to my want list for the garden this summer. Wonder how well they would do in zone 5?!
Happy Gardening Dear Friend and thank you for sharing your work.

gardenerprogress/Catherine said...

So many pretty ones! I love the Magnoliaflora! Our camellias are behind this year. I think it's going to be a couple more weeks still.

Rob (ourfrenchgarden) said...

Hi Phillip

Often Camellia are grown by the frontdoor over here.

I'm always taken by the perfection of the blooms and so early.

I enjoyed your photos.

Rob

Jeannette St.G. said...

Phillip, glad I found you, because I wrote a post about camellias in Feb. this year. I love all the varieties of this flower -visit my blog - I don't think I see the one that's in my yard. Stunning pics by the way!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I love camellias too. I can't grow them though. I have often lamented this fact. I think they look like roses. I will never forget the first time I saw some blooming. I was a neophyte gardener and had never heard of them. I wondered what kind of rose had that sort of leaves and no thorns. Ha... so much to learn. I am still learning.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

I also like goldenrod as it's a native plant, but camellias are much showier, so you can see where garden ladies (among others!) would rally for that. Michigan's state flower is the apple blossom, and I'm cool with that as Michigan is the second largest apple grower in the U.S.

NellJean said...

I wish Georgia had as elegant a State Flower as the Camellia. Those Cherokee Roses grow into huge thorny things as big as a house. Not that camellias are small -- some of mine are the size of gazebos.

I love when the petals fall, covering the ground like a carpet all around.

Roses and Lilacs said...

What a beautiful collection of blooms. I don't blame your for your obsession. Up here in IL people try to grow them as house plants without great success.
Marnie

Dirt Princess said...

Phillip....we do live in Alabama...so it doesn't suprise that it took them 40 years to make a selection. Nothing in this state suprises me

Jamie and Randy said...

What a pretty post! Great shots, Phillip. Speaking of out dated books. My science book in grade school said scientist were hoping to visit the moon someday. We were a little out dated too. LOL

Kathy said...

The Magnoliaflora is my favorite, too. I'd have to grow them in a heated greenhouse, if I grew them at all. That's what Winterrowd and Eck do in A Year at North Hill.

Frances said...

Hi Phillip, you are the master of the camellias! What a funny story about the state flower too. Goldenrod gets no respect! Although it is starting to get back into the good graces. I remember my mother blaming it for her allergies when in fact it was ragweed. The poor innocent goldenrod just happened to bloom at the same time and was much more noticeable than the evil guilty party.
Frances

Garden tips said...

Lovely photos. Camellias are such a nice flower.

Machelle said...

Hi Phillip,
Nice history lesson on our state flower, and yours are SO beautiful! I'm almost jealous. LOL, Unfortunately I have never grown one, why? I don't know. I was trying to think of something to grow against the back of our house, it faces east and has lots of dappled shade. I was considering Camellias and Rhododendrons, What do you think?

Bob said...

Really wonderful shots. Seeing those camellias reminds me of the ones that I had growing up. They were small trees! thanks for sharing this great plant.

all the best, Bob

Jan said...

Our camellias have finished blooming by now, but it is nice to see pictures of yours. Every time I see one, I want to add it to my garden. I guess I would need a 20 acre plot of land to accommodate all my "wants." Enjoy your flowers.

Jan
Always Growing

Jean said...

As much as I like goldenrod, I think the camellias are more photogenic. :-) Every one of yours is gorgeous.