It's no shocker that Southern California would be home to North America's largest collection of a certain winter-blooming flower, a bud that's known to burst into color right when the rest of the nation is busy finger-tapping their thermometers, in hopes that they can push the mercury up a smidge.
We speak of the camellia, a wonder of the winter season. January and February are its months to shine, as you've likely seen on camellia bushes around your own yard or neighborhood. And as for the nature-filled SoCal destination that is indeed home to the continent's biggest camellia collection? Why it is Descanso Gardens, of La Cañada Flintridge, a place that pauses each February to spotlight its star bloom.
Make that February and March this year: The 2015 Camellia & Tea Festival expands its petal, prettily, on Saturday, Feb. 28 and Sunday, March 1.
Oh, you're right: It was previously dubbed The Camellia Festival. The tea end of things means that experts from Chado in Pasadena will be on hand, hosting tastings, and there's a Japanese tea ceremony, too.
The sipping of a potent brew and the contemplation of the flowers, flowers that have been a part of the sprawling estate since the late '30s and 1940s, go together so very well.
As for the floral-focused to-dos? Camellia-oriented walks and talks and camellia craft-making dot the weekend, and a dance performance, too (something that makes a nice thartner to tea and flowers).
"Thartner" is the third partner, in a series of three things, of course.
Cost? It's free with your Descanso admission. Enjoying wintertime flowers in profusion under a bright blue sky? That pays dividends to the soul, surely. And surely when our friends and relatives elsewhere keep tapping that ol' thermometer, trying to see if the mercury will rise above freezing, just a little bit.