Thursday, 26 March 2015
Thanks to Non at The Dahlia Papers for the nudge that sent me to Chiswick House on a glorious afternoon to catch the Camellia Show. Camellias make me think of ballgowns, swirling pink chiffon and debutante white; the pink and white stripe ones like a crisp, expensive, ballerina-length summer dress, something Audrey Hepburn might wear on a Riviera holiday. But Non got it exactly right. They're flamenco dresses.
Fascinating to learn that these are some of the oldest camellias in the country; some were brought home by East Indiamen sea captains as gifts for the shipowners and their wives. In 1825, a camellia sold for 5gns which was half a year's wages for a housemaid.
I didn't buy a camellia. If plants had social workers, mine would be taken into care.
But now I think of it, it cost me 5gns for coffee and a slab of Simnel cake sitting outside in the sunshine. (Chiswick House does exceedingly good cake.)