From My Garden: Twenty Camellias in Haiku

Last spring I planted camellias in our front flowerbeds, not fully appreciating what a blessing I was giving myself. My husband and I worked the soil, adding amendments to create the acidity needed for the new camellias and azaleas. We went to Maas Nursery, the best place in the Houston area to get camellias, and purchased one Royal Velvet (deep red), one Purple Dawn (purplish pink) and a variety I had never heard of before, Sadaharu Oh (pink and white) named after a baseball player. The Royal Velvet has opened three glorious blooms so far, the Purple Dawn is a week from blooming  for the first time, but the Sadaharu Oh has proved unexpectedly prolific. Eighteen blooms have come and gone over the past month and it shows no sign of slowing down. Every time I tried to count the buds I would lose track somewhere between sixty and seventy.

I have been battling a respiratory infection this winter and without the joy my camellias have brought I don’t know how I would have made it through. But there is something about the fleeting nature of the camellia flower that makes one think of mortality and the beauty of life anyway.

These photos were taken in my garden and in my home and inspired the camellia theme for the week. In turn, I was inspired by the haikus of Matsuo Bashō and decided to try my hand at haikus. Staying traditional by keeping the 5-7-5 syllable count in three lines, I also tried to keep a sense of the jarring, unexpected nature of the content. I don’t know how successful I was, but the enjoyment I received from the mental exercise was well worth the time spent. I hope you will love them.

 

IMG_6325 (2)

a bowl of petals

this fierce corolla looks up

to contain the sun

 

IMG_6823

a pink and white bloom

adorns the glossy green leaves

crowned by threads of light

 

IMG_6601

a bee drinks deeply

ensconced in choice filaments

briefly imprisoned

 

IMG_6604

 the bee roaming freely

high on nectar among petals

is distinctly small

 

IMG_6599

the waxy flower

incapable of flying

makes the bee her slave

 

IMG_6531

in the flower’s bell

a bee hangs like a clapper

that will never ring

 

IMG_6833

after winter rain

shining with damp radiance

blooms have not fallen

 

IMG_6810

a fragile wax bloom

pours out its captured water

cup overflowing

 

IMG_6799

flower petals moist

textured like a infant’s skin

lasting only days

 

IMG_6774

in winter’s darkness

the camellia flowers

bring back the sunlight

 

IMG_6840

blossom beneath leaves

out of reach of wind and rain

afraid of falling

 

IMG_5814

a fallen flower

vibrant colors bathed in tears

is already dead

 

IMG_5813

cradled on pine straw

the flower’s lifeless body

collects dewy tears

 

IMG_6184

like a fallen star

gracing my simple table

bringing nature home

 

IMG_6973

remaining lovely

in a dish splashed with water

bloom cut off from life

 

IMG_6975

 

like a frilly dress

layers exposed for all eyes

she remains empty

 

IMG_6977

moisture is fickle

too much and the bloom will rot

too little she wilts

 

IMG_6976

each bloom so unique

drops in her time from the plant

nature is wasteful

 

IMG_6986

a fleeting flower

dropping helplessly to earth

evokes our own death

 

IMG_6988

a flower lingers

uncoupled from life and dead

may we do the same

 

Quote for Today: Sarah Jio

 

camellia-3338781_640

My eyes blinked like a camera shutter clicking through the frames of my life, except the images were mismatched and haphazard: a ragged-looking doll with a rose-colored dress; crocheted white baby mittens, slightly unraveled; a row of tulips, vibrant red; Rex’s smile; a rusty weather vane whirling in the wind.
My eyelids fluttered, fighting to remain open, but when they closed, the welcoming image that waited beckoned me to stay, promising to give me the comfort, the peace I longed for.
The camellias.
I could see them, seemingly endless rows of big, bushy green trees with waxy leaves and showy flowers the size of saucers. Pinks, reds- bursting into bloom, as if they’d been painted by the Queen of Hearts.
Sarah Jio, The Last Camellia

Public Domain Image via Pixabay

Quote for Today: Alexander Dumas-fils

black-and-white-plant-white-photography-flower-petal-394497-pxhere.com

Her delight in the smallest things was like that of a child. There were days when she ran in the garden, like a child of ten, after a butterfly or a dragon-fly. This courtesan who had cost more money in bouquets than would have kept a whole family in comfort, would sometimes sit on the grass for an hour, examining the simple flower whose name she bore.
Alexandre Dumas-fils, La Dame aux Camélias

Public Domain Image via PxHere

Quote for Today: Harper Lee

camellia-1883205_640

Jem opened the box. Inside, surrounded by wads of damp cotton, was a white, waxy, perfect camellia. It was a Snow-on-the-Mountain.

Jem’s eyes nearly popped out of his head. “Old hell-devil, old hell-devil!” he screamed, flinging it down. “Why can’t she leave me alone?”

In a flash Atticus was up and standing over him. Jem buried his face in Atticus’s shirt front. “Sh-h,” he said. “I think that was her way of telling you—everything’s all right now, Jem, everything’s all right. You know, she was a great lady.”

“A lady?” Jem raised his head. His face was scarlet. “After all those things she said about you, a lady?”

“She was. She had her own views about things, a lot different from mine, maybe… son, I told you that if you hadn’t lost your head I’d have made you go read to her. I wanted you to see something about her—I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do. Mrs. Dubose won, all ninety-eight pounds of her. According to her views, she died beholden to nothing and nobody. She was the bravest person I ever knew.”

Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Public Domain Image via Pixabay

Quote for Today: Muriel Barbery

 

Nature Camellia Spring Flowers Camellia Flower

In a split second of eternity, everything is changed, transfigured. A few bars of music, rising from an unfamiliar place, a touch of perfection in the flow of human dealings – I lean my head slowly to one side, reflect on the camellia on the moss on the temple, reflect on a cup of tea, while outside the wind is rustling foliage, the forward rush of life is crystalized in a brilliant jewel of a moment that knows neither projects nor future, human destiny is rescued from the pale succession of days, glows with light at last and, surpassing time, warms my tranquil heart.

Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog
Public Domain Image via MaxPixel.com

Quote for Today: Jean-Paul Sartre

800px-Mark_Shim_-_tenor_sax_@_19°_International_Jazz_Festival_of_Punta_del_Este_-_150111-2055-jikatu_(16077626329).jpg

For the moment, the jazz is playing; there is no melody, only notes, a myriad of tiny jolts. They know no rest, an inflexible order gives birth to them and destroys them without even giving them time to recuperate and exist for themselves. They race, they press forward, they strike me a sharp blow in passing and are obliterated. I would like to hold them back, but I know if I succeeded in stopping one it would remain between my fingers only as a raffish languishing sound. I must accept their death; I must even will it. I know few impressions stronger or more harsh.

Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea
Image © Jimmy Baikovicius with CCLicense