A Brooklyn Girl’s Guide To Sunday: The Hidden Camellias of L.A.
I recently took the quickest trip of all time to LA, crashing with a friend during a break in her coding program. I’m always kind of astounded when I go somewhere that isn’t New York City, or Brooklyn, and realize that people have real blooming yards with roses and succulents and clematis growing over wooden fences. LA is full of flowers and grassy strips, and for a flower addict like me, it’s a little bit of heaven on earth. During a quick solo walk to call my mom, as per usual, I stumbled on a neighbor whose entire fence was overgrown with camellias, the bushes low to the ground and almost desert-like, but nonetheless occupied by the same magic white flowers I grew up watching my mom float in water and treasure like diamonds.
Camellias are the state symbol of Alabama, though they are generally found in East and South Asia, and you can make tea from the flower’s leaves. The flower will turn brown soon after it’s touched, and my grandmother was obsessed with them, as was my mother after her, as am I. Finding one feels like stumbling upon a palace in a neighborhood of already elaborate mansions; I’ve never been tempted by any perfume more than a camellia scented one. I think it even outdoes jasmine, which is a hard thing to do. Camellias have a scent that makes you pause and think, “I could never make anything to compare to this”. So when I stumbled upon a bush of them in LA, I paused, sat myself down, and put off that phone call.