Waiting on Camellias

Every day for the past six weeks I’ve walked outside to check my three Camellia bushes, willing them to bloom. An exercise in futility if there ever was one. Frustrated at the plethora of huge, tantalizing buds that seemed glued shut, I spent a little time researching Camellias.

Six months. That’s how long it takes a Camellia to set buds. I was flabbergasted. Also, I found out these bushes are prone to drop the buds, so now I had the distinct non-pleasure of anticipating dead buds on the ground instead of a floral wonderland. I didn’t realize they bloomed in winter either, and since we had a hard freeze this year I reluctantly jerked my expectations back a peg or two. The visions of fresh Camellia bouquets faded and I made plans to buy new, more enthusiastic bushes in the spring.

On a chilly late-January day, in a last-gasp effort to find a bud in glorious transformation, I stalked outside, folded my arms and stared at the stubborn buds accusingly, as if a confrontation would bring them around. Maybe the bush would put forth more effort if I held it accountable. While I glared at the innocent Camellia bush which, after all, was just being a Camellia bush…I heard a faint whisper, a purr inside my head that eventually formed these words:  “How long has it taken take YOU to  bloom?”

I furrowed my brow and walked inside and plopped down at my desk. Had I bloomed? Had I ever bloomed? What did blooming entail, anyway, in the grand scheme of things? Daunting to consider.

The next day, I downloaded a book titled “The Language of Flowers,” women’s fiction; which ironically, given my preoccupation with Camellias, seemed apropos. To my surprise, I learned from the author that there actually WAS a language of flowers; even a “Victorian Flower Dictionary.” For instance, yellow roses mean ‘infidelity’ or ‘jealousy’, and peonies mean ‘friendship’. Mistletoe means ‘I surmount all obstacles’, and marigolds signify ‘grief’. Back in the day,  a bouquet carried a powerful message. I hastily flipped to Camellia definitions. Camellia means ‘my destiny is in your hands’.


So now I was thinking…I’d better be darn careful with any Camellia bouquets I gave away. What if I put together a bouquet of my destiny and gave it to someone that had absolutely no idea what it meant? Would this negatively impact my personal blooming?

In the end, I decided it would be safer to enjoy the flowers in situ and let the buds drop where they may.




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