Posts Tagged ‘Camellia’

The plight of a Camellia hater.

August 28, 2013

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We all know that as a general rule, nature is just about perfect. I tend to go along with the notion that the more I get to know about mankind the more I tend to look at the growing grass for salvation and nurture. I like nature and dislike wars and camellias. Oops…sorry, but camellias I did remove from my list of nature some years ago when I discovered to my horror the people who associate intimately with camellias.

I always had a feeling of unease when walking past heaps of brown rotting flowers littering the concrete footpaths along stretches of my first Australian taste of suburbs. I finally mustered up enough will, courage and asked what those flowers were. Camellias was the answer.

Many know that I often touch upon my personal blight of having lived in a suburb. It dates back to my teen years of isolation many decades ago after arrival from Holland. I narrowly escaped by moving into a room in the inner city area of Paddington. What a relief, finally understanding there was life after all. This all happened some years before the most fortuitous event of them all, even outdoing my escape from Australian suburb, meeting up in Europe with my future wife from Finland. Camellias have come, gone and rotted but we are still together all those years.

I hope I don’t tread on the toes of lovers of Australian suburbs nor on camellia fans. I understand that having a back yard for the kiddies is important. I fully understand and acknowledge that this is as ingrained in our national psyche as prawns on the barbeque with frozen peas. However, does that have to include growing camellias as well?

My dad used to shake his head in amazement when the neighbours’ camellias used to shed their flowers in our garden. It was good mulch. He also detested those flowers. So maybe my aversion is genetic based rather than just personal prejudice. It is all so complicated and one spends a lifetime trying to figure out other peoples foibles instead of trying to sort out own problems and silly idiosyncrasies.

Let me confess at least (before my time is up) to admitting my camellia phobia is illogical and very limiting in experiencing more joys than just relying on growing grass for sustenance. Perhaps a good psychiatrist or reading Emmanuel Kant might throw light on this camellia phobia of mine. He did say:
He who is cruel to camellias becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of camellias.
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/i/immanuelka390204.html#EFzSyyoRLeYw2Poo.99

Who really cares?

They look so plastic. Those shiny leaves? I know of no other plant that so readily takes to looking artificial. In my suburb of before mentioned sad teen years, a neighbour higher up, belonged to a camellia society. He also was forever mowing his lawn with one of the first Victa’s lawnmower that used to never start except when he got close to going berserk in his backyard. He used branches of his beloved camellias to thrash his Victa lawnmower into submission. I used to watch his lawn mowing efforts through our venetian blinds. It is perhaps now easier to understand for you readers how low I had sunk in my spiritual suburb dehydration.

If there is one thing that I still have a burning ambition for, is; please never leave plastic flowers on my headstone nor any camellia, even within my very limited sight.
Thank you.

Emergence of Hebe hostility in Bowral

January 4, 2012


We liked the place, after driving through it, almost immediately. The friendly canopy of the Manchurian pear and mixture of fig, gum and casuarinas trees was a welcome relief from so many other properties that we had seen. You know, the sort of entrance that features a bare driveway with the garden totally dominated by pretty flowering things that conform to the owners wish to be on top of everything, including the garden. Nothing ever, ever, above gutter height, we’ll teach those trees a lesson; seems to be the motto of so many.

Not only the shaded and shade and sun dappled driveway, the communal gardens also has a rather lovely advanced hedging of dark green Hebe, Japanese boxes’ and bay laurel. Another huge feature was the curved driveway. We had bought the place almost without having seen the inside of the place, our future home. What can one say about bedrooms, lounge and kitchen? They had high ceilings and the space was reasonably well planned. The bathrooms were large and simply furnished with enough concealed plumbing to flush toilets and showers, even a full length bath. It was the entrance to the eight townhouses that decided our choice more than the bricks and mortar. It made us feel good and uplifted.

The town houses are lived in by their owners but two are rented out. For reasons I have never understood ‘renters,’ as a general rule, don’t ‘do’ garden, but ‘owners’ do. It’s as if ‘owning’ brings out the need to differentiate from those that don’t ‘own’. I mean, when I say that ‘owners’ garden, it’s often just the mowing and raking leaves that constitutes gardening. Even raking is an over-statement; they now use awesome equipment to move leaves. They, the blowers, look as if on a mission in Afghanistan routing out cells of resistance. They wear helmets and goggles with a determination that frightens even the most determined Magpies and possums. The leaves shrivel up in advance.

Of late, there has been an emerging danger in that a couple of owners in our cozy compound now want to change the communal status quo with the Hebe hedging to single Camellias. We all know that watching the telly’s Edinburgh Tattoo on New Year’s Eve is about the most boring thing we could be found out about or accused off. Well, I have a thing about Camellias. I suspect that camellia lovers also love watching military events, including the Tattoo. It goes further; Camellia lovers also vote liberal and probably hate boat people. From my days in Revesby, the Camellia has always represented a kind of straggly ambition to some status of non-growth, a stilted subservient form of ‘frozen in time’ limbo much desired by many and often achieved. You could buy all the Camellia fertilizers, all the cow manure, you could mulch, spray, put copper sulfate underneath each leave. The Camellia would triumph over all and refuse to admit to any life or growth, not even a single leave would sprout…

Well, for those couple of owners, whose names shall remain anonymous, the Camellia and watching military tattoos have proven my non-judgmental theory to fever pitch. One owner, early in morning, at the crack of dawn, massacred three lovely mature, dark green Hebe. When I walked past with Milo, I couldn’t believe it. We had, at an earlier extraordinary meeting, agreed to shaping and rounding of the hedging.

We agreed to this when a new owner expressed the wish to cut down some lovely bay hedges and replace them with Camellias. We were put on high alert. Helvi and I quickly rounded up support from pro Hebe owners. Just in case! We wanted the new owner to feel welcome but also let it be known, in no uncertain terms, that the mentality associated with Camellia’s is somewhat frowned upon. I mean, how can you feel good when walking past Camellias? They are so…. kind off…. dare I… so utterly boarding houses in South Kensington in UK…. So boringly stinking flowers on the foot paths of suburbia… the buds often just fall off, despairing of life…they need a good dose of…Round-Up.