The first year I spent in Norfolk was when I was a freshman at Old Dominion University. In the spring of the year I spent a lot of time on my bike riding through the older neighborhoods that are close to campus. Even though I did not know what everything was, I was amazed at the abundant riot of spring color. Houses surrounded by blooming walls of Azalea, wooded neighborhoods cloaked in Dogwood - these plants I knew from growing up in Richmond. What was exotic and not familiar to me were the Camellias, many of them reaching toward the second story of the houses. Although I am sure I liked spring in my adolescence, it was here that I came to truly appreciate it.
Now that I am in the business of horticulture, I have nearly come to dread spring. I loose one of my days off at the end of March and don't get it back again until after Mother's Day or even Memorial Day. Not only is my time at work more frequent, it is also much more frantic and stressful. So with this in mind, I choose to spend one of my last free Saturdays roaming through the Camellias at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens, instead of pursuing more practical concerns. The Gardens have over 1600 Camellias, 700 are in the Hofheimer Camellia Garden. I was able to get there while Camellia japonica was in peak bloom - it was Shangri La.
'Apple Blossom''Edna Campbell'
'Mabel Bryan''Masterpiece Pink'