I don’t know about y’all, but it has felt positively springlike here the last few days! In fact, our office even moved out to the front porch one day last week – it doesn’t get more Southern than that!!
Because we’re ready for chirping birds and brilliant green grass and everything else that comes with a Southern spring, we wanted to kick off a new series: Southern Stems! Over the next few weeks, we’ll be exploring several of the blooms particularly prized below the Mason-Dixon Line. Let’s begin with the camellia!
Camellia image by yocca; overlay by SW
Gorgeous, no? The camellia is such a soft, romantic flower, and it just seems quintessentially Southern to me. It’s also the state flower of Alabama. Lucky ‘Bama gals! Here are two botanical prints to give you a close-up look at those ruffly petals:
The botanical print on the left is available for purchase here, and the print on the right is available for free download here!
My research turned up various “floriography” meanings for the camellia, including graciousness, steadfastness, honesty, excellence, and “my destiny is in your hands.” All lovely, and perfect for a wedding!
Both images from Southern Living
Camellias are known for their big, luscious blooms. Because they’re heavy flowers, they like a little support, so floating them in shallow bowls or propping them up in short vases or pitchers is best. Loosely grouped vases of these blooms would be perfect as a long, low centerpiece down a reception table – nothing to block conversation!
Adeline Country Cottage
Possibly my favorite characteristic of camellias is that they bloom in winter and early spring, when not too many other flowers dare to show their faces!
Browne Photography via Style Me Pretty
For those who would like to see camellias up close and personal, now is the perfect time! Descanso Gardens in Flintridge, CA, the Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham, NC, and Middleton Place just outside of Charleston, SC, all have great collections. Middleton, in particular, boasts hundreds of different camellia specimens, as the first camellia in America was reportedly presented to Henry Middleton in 1786!
Photo on left from Better Homes & Gardens, and on right, by Amy Neunsinger from House Beautiful
Finally, if you’re marrying in a season when camellias are not in bloom, but would still like to show your Alabama pride in flower form, we love these delicate paper versions from The Green Vase:
Images from The Green Vase
What’s your favorite Southern stem?