Two sisters, two coasts, one blog

Best in Show.


I wasn’t even going to write this post today. I wasn’t going to blog at all. In fact, I was going to throw in my blogging towel today and use my get-out-of-jail-free card in the face of general exhaustion, a second round of fever and vomiting sweeping my household, lack of an interesting topic, and enough time or indeed creative inspiration to find one. With disappointment and frustration breathing down my neck, and after conferring with my ever-wise and compassionate twin sister, I vowed to let it go and try again next week.

But then I decided that y’all really needed to know about this.


The 89th Annual Camellia Show sponsored by the Camellia Society of Sacramento was held this weekend. And I went. And how could I really justify depriving you of that??

The show runs for two days and provides local Camellia enthusiasts the chance to enter prize blooms for judging, viewing or simply geeking-out on  flowers of every size and variety imaginable.  It’s free to the public and I’d never been; and seeing as the Camellia is Sacramento’s iconic flower (we are “the camellia capital” after all) with everything from schools to orchestras to dry cleaners named after it, well I just had to  see what all the fuss is about.


[ insert sound of crickets chirping here ]

I certainly don’t want to come off all ‘Debbie Downer Does The Flower Show’ or anything but I have to say that at first impression the event seemed kind of like a snooze-fest. Perhaps I’m not the right age bracket to truly enjoy the whole flower show thing anyway? While I loved the seeing flowers up close I couldn’t really get with the “conceptual floral art arrangements” or the plain-air “paint in” being held, wherein folks could come set up an easel and make artworks on site using the plethora of gorgeous floral subjects. It all did seem slightly awkward.


Conceptual Floral Art.
ummm…these were some of the best on display. I know for sure the one on the right was entitled “dancing with the stars”.

A n artist...

An artist…

...and his subject.

…and his subject.

However, I really did enjoy seeing all the specimens of Camellias and the variation in color and size and petal pattern. Some were as large and gaudy as a tropical Hibiscus flower. Some were teeny little boutineer-sized buds in deep burgundy,  about as masculine as this flower can get.

The day I visited the winners had already been announced. There were awards in divisions such as “Best Miniature”  with a single bloom displayed, or “Best Tray, Large to Very Large Japonica”  for multiple blooms off of one cultivar. With the number the entries on the tables that had not even made it up to the Winner’s Circle, one can only surmised that there must be some serious intrigue and behind the scenes drama in Camellia world. Whowinswhatwhy?

Or maybe not.

the Winner's Circle

the Winner’s Circle

a bounty of beautiful

a bounty of beautiful


Besides, everyone involved in the Camellia Society that I happened to talk to was exceeding nice and helpful. I learned how to control and treat the petal blight that causes the browning of camellia flowers. I was encouraged to join the Floral Design Guild who is “always looking for new members”. I overheard some hip(ish) looking ladies discussing the tricks of displaying single buds to best appeal to the eye. Fascinating.

I mean, who am I to judge?

But it was upon returning home and looking through the pictures I had snapped, that I really realized why I ought to blog about this:

Because these are some seriously beautiful flowers.

The perfect design of the petals. The palette of pinks, reds and whites. The classic old fashioned varieties next to the tawdry modern hybrids. All together in one place – pretty cool.




So thanks, 89th Annual Camellia Show, for being a bright colorful spot in my otherwise discouraging and flu-ridden day. I’ll be enjoying Camellia season here in Sacramento that much more for the next couple of weeks, having been reminded of the therapeutic balm of flowers and the inspiration (to blog) that they bring. Now that’s a gift.


6 Responses to “Best in Show.”

  1. Jennifer

    Thanks for sharing. I have always wondered about that show and now I know

    • ruchapowers

      It would make a great setting for a weird short story or a documentary of the underworld of camellia lovers or something…we should go together next year!

  2. nerponline

    It’s hard that there’s sickness in the house again. But you did a good thing by reporting on the Camelia Show, WT. Got me thinking that one of the nice things about them are the beautiful, glossy green leaves which, according to your photos, are only marginally part of the camelia fancier’s scene. And who knew that the leaves of one variety supply the world with it’s most popular drinking teas? All those rolling hills of asian tea plantation bushes are camellias!

    • ruchapowers

      I love tea so much how can I not revere the camellia plant? I like the look of their nice leaves also although they were definitely not the center-point of the show – it’s all about the blooms baby.

  3. oami powers

    Beautiful images of the camelia’s – lemonade from lemons right? The show seems like something which could be the subject of one of those esoteric documentaries…


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