Style Court

Eight Years of Textiles, History, Art, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes

12.26.2008

A Bowl for Camellias

A few years ago, Southern Accents asked regional tastemakers to share their thoughts on Southern style. Charleston-based designer Amelia Handegan said, "No Southern house should be without a bowl for camellias."

I loved her reply because the idea is so timeless and accessible. Sure, the bowl might be sterling or 18th-century porcelain, but it could also be contemporary glass from Crate and Barrel.

If you are fortunate to have camellias growing in your yard, or in a pot on your patio, think about bringing some blooms inside -- even if you float just one on your bedside table.

The flower is in season right now, and it continues to feel fresh as we transition from the holidays to winter. Planting camellias for next year is another great option if you live in a warmer climate. (I think I mentioned the other day that the January issue of Southern Accents includes a camellia story with helpful sources.)

The paintings above are by American artist John La Farge: Second from the top, White Camellia in a Red and Black Lacquer Bowl, is circa 1880 and belongs to the MFA. Camellia in Old Chinese Vase on Black Lacquer Table, 1879, is shown first (image via artyzm.com.)

Erica George Dines photographed the pink camellias in the Yeoward crystal bowl for Southern Accents.

23 comments:

Ivy Lane said...

OHHHH..to have a flower in bloom outside to put by my bedside.....SIGH..

Style Court said...

It is a luxury to have a little plant going!

Pigtown-Design said...

We're just a shade too far north most places around Baltimore, although my horticulturally-talented father managed to grow one in a south west corner of our old house. We used silver finger bowls for floating camellias and gardenias.

Mimi's Poor Blog said...

Camelias ARE in bloom at the SB Museum of Natural History where I work, in abundance. I'll ask our saintly gardener, Larry, if I can pick some my camelia bowl. Thanks for the idea.

Style Court said...

Meg -- gardenias in silver bowls. Hard to beat that.

Style Court said...

Mimi -- sounds like a wonderful place to work!

pve design said...

You "bowl" me over with every post, but this one just has me all a flutter for buds and blooms in bowls.

Style Court said...

Thanks Patricia!

MIMILEE said...

I just love this post, Courtney! Because I LOVE my camellias....I have several bushes that bloom profusely and I often bring them in and put them all around my house! Sometimes I float them also.

Great Post!

Style Court said...

Oh I'm so glad Mimi. You are lucky to have so many!

Great Dame said...

Lovely post about one of my favorite garden plants. I've started amassing a small collection of camellias in my own tiny yard; the great news is that they are very hardy when planted in the right spot.

For those worried about cold hardiness, there are several mail order companies, like Camellia Forest out of NC, and Nurseries Caroliniana in SC, that now offer plants with a bigger range of cold tolerance. Camellias for everyone!

Style Court said...

Thanks for the tip Great Dane!

jds223 said...

Just got back to El Paso from Houston...I forgot how verdant Houston is...even in the Winter. My mother has a beautiful camellia bush that is blooming extravagant red flowers.

Paul Pincus said...

gorgeous, courtney! i love the john la farge paintings. they're beautiful. i can't stop looking at the pink camellias in the william yeoward crystal bowl. it's a wonderful image. cheers, -p.p.

Style Court said...

Paul and JDS --

Happy holidays! Glad this post struck a cord :)

victoria thorne said...

adore this post...had to fish out pewter bowl for the pink camellias that are blushing right outside our front door. would that i could send you a branch, as an appreciative thank you!

Style Court said...

Oh Victoria, pink with pewter sounds lovely!

Laura said...

The camellias were in full bloom on my holiday tour of middle and South Georgia! We drove right by Massee Lane Gardens in Fort Valley, which I think is home of the American Camellia Society.

Style Court said...

Laura -- wish I could've seen it!

Gabriela said...

Thanks for this post! At my grandmother's house in San Salvador (central america) there were always bowls for gardenias...an intoxicating alternative!

Style Court said...

Hi Gabriela -- I bet the blooms that grow there are heavenly!

Heather Beth Taylor said...

I love this post! so beautiful!

Style Court said...

Thank you Heather!