Camellia Time: Descanso's Flowery Fest

The weather is mild and a certain star flower is making a showing.

Do flowers have email addresses?

Surely they must. Look to the camellia, that colorful star of the winter garden, and how late January is its time to shine around its famous SoCal base, Descanso Gardens.

Did a bunch of camellias gather together to send the weather an email, requesting a fine week of mild weather? Because clearly the weather received the message: Temperatures are hovering in the mid-70s as we head into the final weekend of January, the time of the annual Camellia & Tea Festival at the La Cañada Flintridge nature spread.

Of course, Saturday, Jan. 30 and Sunday, Jan. 31 may not be quite as warm as the week leading into the party, but that suits these cold-weather buds. How well does wintertime suit the camellia? So well that paths through the property's "camellia forest" stay busy, even as other flowery gardens of North America grow a little quieter with the chill.

The schedule is a busy one, with both days featuring walks among the camellias, a Chado Tea tasting, sandwiches and more in the Camellia Lounge, dance presentations, and camellia-themed crafts.

Admission to the camellia confab is included with Descanso Gardens admission, but wait! There's a twist: Saturday, Jan. 30 is Museums Free-for-All day, so there is no charge to enter. That means the first day of the Camellia & Tea Festival is gratis, save any nibbles you might purchase.

Do you have camellias in your yard? Many SoCalers do, what with their showy propensity for going big 'n bold come January and February. Would you like to see many in a single place? Descanso is your destination.

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And as far as camellias sharing an email address? We can't say for sure, since we've never seen any electronic devices out among the shrubs, but clearly they have a direct line to the weather. While the country's gone snowy, these showy buds are basking in some soft sunshine ahead of their yearly bash.

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