I am a chief writer for Weekend Notes, a copywriter, published poet and Editor of poetry magazine ‘Fruit Salad’ (on hold). I also write children's fiction and inspirational pieces.
Inspiration for a new garden theme
A demonstrator interacts with audience members during the Camellia Tea Ceremony.
The 2016 Toowoomba Camellia Show & Garden Expo invited visitors into a wonderland of exquisite and colourful camellia blooms of one hundred and fifty varieties with single, semi-double and anemone plus classic wedding displays. There are thousands of varieties of camellia, some which bloom earlier and some later during the colder months.
An exciting highlight of the show was the Camellia Tea Ceremony, supported by St Ursula's College and performed by Japanese women and children trained in the traditional ceremony. Tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis or Tea Plant which originated in China. Samples of tea were provided which were surprisingly frothy and served in Japanese cups. The audience was enthralled by the ceremony's graceful beauty and meaning. The Genus Camellia is a member of the Family Theaceae. The name 'camellia' was created by a Jesuit layman, George Joseph Kamel, who studied botany and pharmacy. Latinising his surname Kamel gives us the word Camellus, then altered to Camellia.
Dedicated volunteers spent days preparing the beautiful camellia display. Having attended an Adelaide show with its forest of camellia bushes, I admit to being slightly disappointed at the display's 'blooms only' approach but it was nonetheless an impressive array of colour, quality and variety to become immersed in. The entry fee for the show went towards the Toowoomba Hospice. The show was sponsored by the Heritage Bank who gave away spray ponchos.
Over the weekend the Toowoomba Camellia Show & Garden Expo presented many talks such as Paradise Plants and Wattletree Horticulture. Other presentations and displays included: Native Plants; Celebrity Flower Arranging; Gardening Australia presentations; live music acts; and the Car Club. Two cafes warmed the winter bones and scrumptious morning tea slices were quaffed at Shirley's Canteen. The Choral Society buoyed spirits with their jazzy songs performed in a cozy marquee and piped around the grounds. A plant clinic was operating, a children's area kept the small people amused while gardeners had plenty of choice for take-home planting from the nursery. Gardening tools and machinery plus wide range of camellias were also for sale.
One of the deep pink anemone varieties of camellia. Image by Camellias Queensland.
There will be a camellia display at Mt Coot-tha in Brisbane on 31 July from 9am-3pm which will include talks, advice for gardeners, sales, raffles and competitions. A guided tour of the Camellia Garden begins at 11am. Sure to be a memorable day for only $4, children and members free. Membership applications are available to join the Queensland Camellia Society which meets from March to October.
If you missed the show you can introduce yourself to the world of camellias next year or feast your eyes at the Mt Coot-tha show. Keep your eye on the Queensland Camellia Society's Facebook page for details.