Advertisement

A bloomin' good time at Descanso's Camellia Festival

Camellia dominates in namesake festival at Descanso.

February 06, 2012|By Sara Cardine

The usually bucolic Descanso Gardens underwent a spell Saturday, transforming into a one-day wonderland of children’s laughter, trains, damask fairy wings and rich, exotic teas. But through it all, the reason for the gathering was not forgotten, as thousands of white, pink and red blossoms took center stage at the garden’s annual Camellia Festival.

More than 200 varieties of the sturdy winter plant were on display throughout the 160-acre garden, and those who took part in the walking tour and lecture had a chance to learn the history of how the flowering trees and shrubs came to reside there, and to see up close new hybridizations. For camellia lovers and friends Christina Wilson and Linda Rector, who traveled from Thousand Oaks, the festival was a day well spent.

“Last year, we came the weekend after and we missed the festival,” Rector said. “We both got camellia bushes and they’re coming out really well. So now we’re back.”

Advertisement

This year’s weather is much more agreeable, Wilson said, recalling that last year they’d suffered much colder temperatures and had even seen tiny flakes of snow. “I was taking a lot of pictures, and my fingers were numb,” Wilson said.

In keeping with Descanso’s quest to make nature appreciation a family event, there were loads of activities Saturday that were designed for future gardeners, including an interactive tour of camellia-strewn paths led by costumed fairy princesses from the Los Angeles nonprofit Faery Trail Theater. Girls were able to strap on colorful fairy wings, while boys turned up dressed as pirates and other fantastic characters.

Before each fairy tour, the children pledged not to pick any of the flowers from the trees or bushes, making a pact with the princess: “As summer turns to fall, and winter turns to spring, I will keep my promise — I swear it, on my wing.”

Meanwhile, older visitors were treated to a free walking tour of the Camellia Forest led by camellia horticulturalist Wayne Walker, who pointed out unique varieties and hybridizations along the way. He stopped occasionally to point his long walking stick at plants of interest, including a grove of pink-blossomed bushes that had been specially bred to produce a scent. This is uncommon for camellias, which usually carry no scent, he explained as visitors stopped to inhale the delicate and dusky sweet smell of the petals.

La Canada Valley Sun Articles La Canada Valley Sun Articles
|
|
|