On the northern side of our house is a sheltered little courtyard edged with camellias. They are overshadowed by the house next door and the roof over the courtyard. They are never watered and rarely fertilised, yet this year, after a long, hot summer, their display is finer than ever.
The camellias are underplanted with hydrangeas which flower over summer, so the courtyard has blossoms for much of the year. I feel indebted to whichever previous owner of this garden had the forethought to plant in this way.
Today I decided to bring some of the camellias indoors.
Camellias are not great flowers for vases because they tend to have short stems and heavy flowers which can droop. They do look lovely grouped in a series of small vases, each holding one or three flowers; flower arrangements look best with odd numbers of blooms.
My favourite way to present camellias, however, is not in vases but floating gracefully in a bowl of water as a table centrepiece.
A single, perfect bloom looks lovely in small bowl and makes an elegant finger bowl for a dinner party. A single, floating flower is also a pretty touch on a bathroom counter.
You could also try a larger bowl with a mixture of different varieties, or one single colour, depending on the effect you want to achieve.