A Winter Camellia Wonderland.

Yesterday, I visited my parents for the first time in a year. Geoff was going down to work, and so he dropped me off on the way, and I was expecting to be there for a good six hours. Well, I can assure you that even after not seeing me for a year, my Dad didn’t think he could talk for that long, although their was the possibility my mother could, but she sleeps irregular hours and so she was also a bit of an unknown quantity. The other thing I came to consider, is that they’ve had very little face-to-face contact with anyone since Sydney went into lockdown last June and so even having their dearest daughter land on their doorstep for the day might’ve been overwhelming, and my Dad recently had an operation as well and so isn’t in prime form either. I guess it suffices to say they’re in their late 70’s and have slowed down a bit.


I packed a book and my journal and looked forward to playing the piano. However, it was a glorious sunny day and they have a magnificent cottage style garden which is quite a camellia wonderland. Indeed, now in the depths of Winter, the camellias are in flower and were absolutely beautiful. As you walk down their driveway, there’s what I think is a Ted Craig Reticulata which is 15 centimetres in diameter and absolutely magnificent. To use a classic quote from Kath & Kim, it’s shouting out: “Look at me! Look at me!” it’s hard not to.

Their garden also has quite a few deciduous trees and there was some stunning yellow Autumn leavers out the front and the neighbours have a towering Liquid Amber which is now mostly a skeleton of branches and all those leaves have fallen somewhere and been swept or raked away. I dare say, many of them have dropped in my parents’ garden and while I was there, I found myself sweeping the front steps until I found myself down on the driveway. It was alright when I started out. I seemed to be making progress. However, a wind had come along and it was literally snowing leaves and they were almost falling faster than I could sweep them away. Of course, I started to see a sort of futility in all of this. Do I end up becoming a sweeper just to keep up with the never-ending tide of leaves or do I simply leave them be? Well, it’s easy for me to say, because I don’t live there and we don’t have any deciduous trees here, except our jacaranda but it rains purple flowers instead. That’s why I guess sweeping up all those Autumn leaves was such a thought-provoking novelty. It’s not something I usually think about.

Anyway, I wanted to share that going round and working on your parents’ garden can be a great way of spending time with or around them while not being underfoot or tiring them out too much. My uncle showed me the way here. He used to go round and work on my grandfather’s garden. This way you can have a chat and a cup of tea, do some gardening. Have another chat and maybe even talk about the garden or they could sit out their with you too.

Their Driveway

By the way, I should also mention that I took over some Date and Apricot All Bran Muffins which they love. Home baked treats also keep to make a visit special.

Are you into gardening at all? Or perhaps you have elderly parents. What enhances your visits? It would be great to share some ideas and special memories.

Best wishes,


19 thoughts on “A Winter Camellia Wonderland.

  1. Tails Around the Ranch

    Love gardening (spent an hour or so weeding this morning before the heat got to me), and yes I have an elderly parent who I’ll be going to visit this week for Father’s Day where we’ll talk politics and the pitiful state of the word. Probably over a few cold beers if the heat continues. 😇 I’m already counting down the days to the official arrival of autumn (101 for anyone keeping track) and waiting for those days when I can rake the 6 million leaves that will fall on my large garden. There’s something delightfully earthy about the smell of raked leaves.

  2. pfiddlergal

    I have a 94 yo old mom. Life is very limited for her these days. Last time I visited I got sick of Frank Sinatra. She listens to him all the time. She loves him. She even has his picture on the wall above her Alexa. So I decided to introduce her to some of the good modern singers … Adele, Ariana Gramde, Ed Sheeren, Kelly Clarkson, Gaga. Every time she said politely. he’s (she’s ok). But not Frank Sinatra. It was a fun afternoon.

  3. tidalscribe.com

    I would enjoy your parents’ garden, I love exploring any gardens. I plant as much colour as I can in my garden and get carried away planting too many tubs and pots so I am always watering.

  4. Rowena Post author

    Thank you very much. I was spellbound in their garden. We live near the beach here and our garden is very basic . However, after spending the day in their garden, I feel inspired to have another go, but have rather sandy soil which needs to be taken into consideration.
    Best wishes,

  5. Shanshe

    Your pictures are GORGEOUS and my parents are getting older, and I should visit them more, neither of them have a garden to tend though.

  6. Janet Alcorn

    Your parents’ garden sounds wonderful, and you’re right: working in it is an great way to be with them and be helpful without the awkwardness of just sitting and talking. I’m jealous of the camelias. We had them in Portland, and they’re wonderful. It’s summer here and insanely hot, so no gardening for me other than watering and harvesting for awhile.

  7. Rowena Post author

    Thanks, Janet. I am jealous of their camellias and their garden in general except for all the leaves which need to be swept up.
    I thought you might be interested in checking out a camellia nursery which used to be just up the road from my parents’ place but has moved further out. I’m thinking of going out there for a drive. Here’s the link: https://www.camelliagrove.com.au/
    Best wishes,

  8. Rowena Post author

    I have a really lovely huge decorative pot and I think a camellia would look spectacular in there. I am thinking of a trip to this very special camellia nursery: https://www.camelliagrove.com.au/ It used to be just up the road from my parents’ place but has moved further out. A big nursery outing would be wonderful.

  9. Rowena Post author

    I forget to water and then pay the price and the poor plants I bring home from the nursery no doubt regret being the chosen one.

  10. Rowena Post author

    That’s so funny. Good on you for trying to broaden her horizons. I try this with my daughter who is seriously into dance especially ballet and she does the odd bit of student choreography. I have a playlist of potential songs for her to dance to and she’s like “whatever”.
    I came across Chase Holfelder who takes popular songs and transposes them into a minor key. This is Tainted Love: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnhLXU4ZDzs&list=PLP0d0-9sxH8YBXAVGNPo_0WuHZPhIjIyH&index=5
    I’d be interested to know what you think.
    Best wishes,

  11. pfiddlergal

    This prompted some time with Keith (husband) who is a musician. He thinks the tpo is different, key is same. I am not sure. I can really see Chases version for choreography. Givesbtime yo express emotions. But if I was dancing to it at Senior prom would prefrr original.

    When I went to dance scool 8 million years ago our dance was choreographed to Take Five by Dace Brubeck. Great piece of music. Never tired of it.

  12. Prior...

    Well that sounds good
    And maybe double check to see what kind of soil it needs and if it likes to be potted
    For example 🌸
    I noticed that around my pace – rose of Sharon thrive in the ground and hate to be potted (root bound) but other shrubs like to be root bound in a pot

  13. Rowena Post author

    Camellia Grove might not sell me a plant i they ask too many questions like what’s the survival rate in your garden? However, they seem to be very helpful and a drive out there would be fun anyway. My best friend is an avid gardener so I might go with her.

  14. Prior...

    That was funny about the survival rate – lol
    And I guess the best part is that you will discover new gardening things and it can lead some
    Good writing –
    Maybe a poem or two or even some insights!

  15. Prior...

    Will you come
    By my blog and let me know if
    You post again any follows ups on this (so I don’t miss it and I don’t always see your posts in my reader)

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