In January, our roses are at their worst. All cut back and nothing but twigs and thorns:
But elsewhere in the garden, the camellias are putting on a fine display:
Camellias are showy, gorgeous things that rival roses in beauty. Most camellia flowers are in the red-pink-white continuum:
They usually have dark, glossy leaves that set off their fancy blooms perfectly:
Even the buds are kind of rose-like in construction:
The structure of individual camellia petals is architectural, sensual:
And if you look carefully in the right light, you can see that a camellia's petals have a slight "frosty" quality to them, like African violet petals do:
Here in L.A., camellias are as common as unemployed actors. All these flowers, above, were photographed on my block, on only one side of the street.
It's the dead of winter. Most of our gardens are dull as dirt right now.
But the camellias are enchanting.