Icy white camellias fresh from the garden, cut and brought inside, fill the house with the cold, fresh scent of a November morning. Sasanqua camellias, and not much else, are in bloom right now. What a pleasure to have such luxurious, summer-looking flowers opening despite rain and cold. They'll continue to bloom through February, slowing down when the temperature drops, perking up and flowering again when the weather moderates.
Whether for the Thanksgiving table, to brighten a windowsill, on a sideboard or next to the sink in the bathroom, white flowers always look good, especially when they're warmed by a big fluff of golden yellow anthers like C. sasanqua ''Setsugekka'. There are other choices - 'White Doves', also with a ruffly, semi-double flower, is smaller and grows more densely. Both have the same shiny green leaves that show off the pristine white flowers to perfection.
And no flower is more adapteble in the vase, which is a great attribute when not much else is flowering.
Camellia sasanqua blooms, while elegant on their own, are also good blenders in mixed bouquets. Here, their snowy flowers star in an arrangement with moon-like lunaria seed pods to echo the white of the flowers, and a gnarly, bare branch to emphasize our plunge into winter. The rough stoneware vase contrasts with the shiny leaves and sweetness of the flowers.
Asian in its simplicity and emphasis on line, this bouquet is set off by the curvaceous, crackle-textured vase in a surprising color for winter. I never can resist combining turquoise with deep green, and the white tracery of the vase with white flowers.
A single bloom in a little metal vase on my kitchen windowsill will lift my spirits when I get to washing all those Thanksgiving dinner dishes...