I just nipped out and took photos of three of my camellias. I was struck by how diverse they were and how likely it is that a lot of people would hold strong opinions about where each of them sat on the refined/vulgar spectrum.
I can honestly say that while they appeal to me in different ways, I like them equally.
The first is a seedling reticulata, which I call ‘Yojimbo’, though I doubt I shall ever register it. The flowers are 13cm across, flamboyantly ruffled and of a strident pink colour.
The second is also pink, not so very different in tone, but totally lacking the stridency. The blooms are small and single, 5cm across at most, with a very pleasant sweet perfume. The leaves are small, dark and glossy. It is a lutchuensis x japonica cross called ‘Koto-no-kaori’.
The last one is a species, yuhsienensis. The flowers are pure white with narrow twisted petals and a fine fragrance.
Now I can see that each would work to best effect in a different setting. They each have their own individual personalities and could look terrible in the wrong setting. But in the right setting, each of them would look stunning. Yet I know there will be people out there who hate at least one of them, which I’m afraid I don’t understand.
Years ago, having driven down a lane carpeted with primroses to get to the nursery, a customer declared that she couldn’t abide yellow. I pointed out that she’d not see a better display of primroses anywhere and that surely she liked them. She thought for a moment, shook her head and reaffirmed that she did indeed hate yellow. I decided many years ago to stick with plants; I can’t fathom a lot of people.