Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Say it with flowers (the Courtesan's Way)

©Brigitta Huegel

As the weather is still cold and grey, my camellia sits on the balcony and sulks.
She wears cap and gloves, looks prim and tight lipped, and avoids eye-contact.
I say "Well, missus - than I will visit your sisters."
Meaning: I slip into the mollifying warmth of the conservatories of Berlin's Botanical Garden.

©Brigitta Huegel

The tropical hothouses I shun: too damp and oppressive the heat there - no, I'm definitely not made for a tropic life, no Qui-hi! for me - but the camellias' hothouse is kept at a pleasant temperature.
Of course: Like master, like man (you can confidently use the female form here): my cammellia and I thrive on praise, so I will tell my homely friend neither of the tallness nor the sheer abundance of red, pink or white blossoms there - it might discourage us her.
Did you know that the great botanist Carl von Linné 1753 gave that plant its name after the Czech
Jesuit Georg Joseph Kamel (1661 - 1706)?

 
©Brigitta Huegel

Camellias don't overpour you with scent - that's why Alexandre Dumas' "Lady of the Camellias" choose them (in real life she was Alphonsine Plessis) - and as most women she was multitasking: she wore a red camellia signaling her lovers: "Bad time - I'm menstruating" or white: "Hurray - the coast is clear!" 
Hope the weather permits my camellia to come out soon - being perfect the way we are, we walk on a confusing wild side.

©Brigitta Huegel



10 comments:

  1. This is one of the flowers that i like so much and faild to grow here.

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    1. I imagine, Yael, that it is too hot. They thrive on typical English weather.

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  2. I've not had success with camellias, either, but I know they do well in the southern states that are warm and moist. Like Georgia and Florida. I like them, but they are house plants here.

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    1. They are difficult in Berlin too, Joanne: not for nothing they have them in a moderate-temperature-glasshouse here in Berlin (we have sometimes Siberian winters :-)
      In Hamburg (utterly English weather) you find them outside in the Botanical garden.

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  3. I love the red and white camellia and I know you did it on purpose.

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    1. Yes, Emma, I did! And I think that she is very pretty.

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  4. Is the mixed colour Camellia called Marie Antoniette? My mother calls them like that but I don't know if it is another name she gives her flowers - she talks to her plant and loves giving them personal names. I love Camellias but, like Yael and Joanne, I too have had no success with them! Greetings Maria x

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    1. I have to look that up when I am the next time in the Botanical garden (and the plant still flowers). Marie Antonette sounds very convincing!
      I talk to my plants too (when nobody is near :-), and one great benefit of plants is: They do not contradict!
      My success with camellias is dubious too: Berlin's weather... and then: they look a bit dull on a balcony when they stop flowering (I love their foliage in free nature).

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  5. A friend bought me a camellia for my birthday and it is flowering beautifully ..... it's a red one but there's not any menstruating here anymore !!!!! haha !!!! XXXX

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    1. That isn't a bad thing, I believe :-)
      Do you have the camellia in- or outside, Jackie? Mine is a red one too (at the moment only green buds). XXXX

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