Tuesday, March 31, 2009


These beautiful camellias are blooming on a very tall bush in my mother's yard. Aside from daffodils, I think camellias are my next favorite flower even though I never uttered those words before now so I might be making it up. Third would probably come wisteria, which is the vine with purple flowers. Around here wisteria often grows high and thick over old abandoned farm houses providing a shock of purple on an otherwise dead, lifeless backdrop.

Driving to work each morning I travel down Route 17 in Gloucester, which is arguably one of the ugliest stretches of unplanned over development around here. (...With all due respect to Gloucester and to Route 17--Hello, Guinea! We love ya! I'm not talking about your neck o' the woods.) This morning, though, as I was glancing from one tired, run-down strip mall to the next roadside-house-turned-small-business, I passed an old, abandoned home that looked like it could fall at any moment--which of course means that I can't help but want to photograph it.

(I can't, though, without turning into a human pancake served up by the heavy traffic.)

But even better than the house was the blooming, bright pink camellias on a remarkably healthy and beautiful bush right outside the dilapidated front porch. The contrast between the old, rickety, worn down house and the bright, new flowers bursting with life was striking.

I think the reason I especially like camellias and wisteria is that even with no effort, with no maintenance, with no care shown to them, they thrive and bloom just as brightly and beautifully as if they'd been manicured, mulched and tended to all their lives. Their vivid, effortless color is made even more beautiful by the old, abandoned homes they stand beside and are loyal to even though there's no more life inside.

So, let me go to sleep now attempt to summarize, if I can may:

1. Beauty does not require maintenance.
2. Beauty does not require attention.
3. One person's abandoned house is another person's work of art.
4. Route 17 is really a nightmare. (But Achilles Road is beautiful and Guinea is great!)
5. Chesapeake Bay Woman needs a life a nap.
6. Chesapeake Bay Woman's hormones mood is rather hostile reflective today.

These rambling thoughts are provided courtesy of my Monday, which involved an insolent alarm clock first thing in the middle of the night this morning and an overabundance of stale tasks sprinkled generously throughout my workday. Toss in some trying personalities and serve with a side order of a 100-mile-round-trip commute, and Voila! (Or viola, as some people insist prefer.)

You have yourself a rambling post.

For additional servings or to double this recipe, simply add a Tuesday and sit back as the flavor intensifies. Stir continuously and if at all possible lower the heat if a Wednesday is added, otherwise the end result is a burned product and a scorched pan.


Grandma J said...

Yeah, I used to fade in and out of sanity myself when I had a job.

I love most flowers, but if they take over, then they are gone, poisoned, killed.

I think my favorite were sweetpeas. I had an abundance of them that grew outside my kitchen window on my patio....multicolored, and year around! The scent was heavenly.

I like bulb flowers too...like daffodils and gladiolas. Amen

Grandma J said...

Hey did you notice? I beat Annie.
Ok, I won't rub it in.

Annie said...

Hey, well done Grandma J...!!

I am living a very unpredictable life here getting over da jetlag! I even managed to sleep till 6am, despite thinking it was 5am. Now I have just discovered that my mobile doesn't know we are off daylight saving here. I've been here 4 days and I have only just worked this out? mmm...jetlag does some funny things to my brain...like turning it to mush.
Love that camellia...just gorgeous!
I lost both my lovely camellias (not as gorgeous as yours though) in our big drought, cos I couldn't water them...very sad!

mmm said...

I wonder why "plants" like camellias and wisteria, that seem to grow well unattended, aren't more invasive - self-limiting I guess, unlike kudzu and homo sapiens, sapiens?

Imagine making your 50 mile trek through the "Gardens of Gloucester" - where the crocuses, daffodils and then the tulips flourish at the edge of the road, where azaleas and rhododendron, and the occasional camellias are sparsely scattered among a seeming thicket of dogwoods and redbuds, and the wisteria hangs from the taller trees and abandoned clapboard barns; all hiding the more hideous habits of humanity.

Next time your making that trek down route 17, close your eyes and imagine... oh, sorry, not a good idea.

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

In central PA, we had "Queen Anne's Lace," also known as wild carrots - they grow everywhere and have these nasty thick stems that lawn mower blades do not like. Still, when they bloom, and there are lots of them, they're really beautiful. For a weed, that is.

Daffodil watch in Darnestown MD: Just starting to bloom on our shady lot!

Mental P Mama said...

I hope you serve it with booze.

Anonymous said...

Word to the wise...if I were to change anything about this beautiful post, it would be:

1) Beauty requires maintenance. Don't be fooled.

2) Beauty demands attention, or it can become ugly quick...

Love ya!
Middle Sis

Daryl said...

So I keep meaning to tell you I stayed on that strip of Rte 17 in Gloucester in October 06 when we drove down to a wedding being held at Ditchley (am I spelling it right?) which belongs to the family of the bride ... it rained the entire way there and though the next day/wedding but cleared up on Sunday for the ride home .. sunshine was so invigorating I got a speeding ticket from this slob of a cop who should have been in church not hiding waiting for me to drive by ... fast ... not so very fast and there was no one else on the road ..

OOPS .. a rambling comment and you cant use strike out here in comments which is so not fair

Autumnforest said...

It's springtime and this Virginia-born girl is missing all the blooms that this desert won't grow...wisteria, magnolia, lilac, azaleas, violets... I just killed a rose bush I planted last week--that's a record. I keep trying, they just won't grow for me here. Must be the magic of VA. Enjoy it for me, I'll soak in your pictures and maybe get some scented fragrances to get the house smelling like we're growing such things outside our windows.

Big Hair Envy said...

Daryl's comment....BWAHAHAHA!! Imagine Daryl in Ditchley!!! I think I know that slob of a cop;)

I really need to plant some camellias along my woods line. Just. Beautiful.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

GJ - Sweetpeas are indeed heavenly. Amen. Good job on beating Annie to the punch, and you're even in an earlier time zone than she is (at least during her trip).

Annie-Sorry about the jet lag, but if you're sleeping until 6 a.m. I'm still jealous. That's late during the week for this household. Regrettably. Enjoy your visit and keep us posted on your adventures.

MMM-The sad thing is, Route 17 probably looked close to that at one time. Remember when you could get to the bridge in no time flat because (a) there were no stoplights - or very few--and (b) there was no traffic? Kudzu. That sounds like an invasive homo sapiens. Keep in mind I'm very, very tired right now. I've not received my shipment of the MMM brand coffee beans. Yet.

Meg - Oh do I know from Queen Anne's Lace. The very daffodil field I've been photographing is covered in it later in the summer...maybe in time for Blog Fest.

MPM - Absolutely. Absolute. Ly.

Middle Sis - You maintain yourself very well and will look like a model in the nursing home. I, however, maintain that you can still have beauty without all the maintenance and tending to. Remember our lessons from cinema as an art form in college, where you got the B- and I got the easy A and I didn't even see half the movies. You interpret things more literally; I interpret things more like a crazy person. Sometimes things have more than one meaning, or a deeper meaning or sometimes the author is just too tired to make any sense and makes meanings up completely. Hope all is well down your way. You're missing some beautiful flowers here.

DAryl - You've been holding back! You're an old pro then. Good thing MPM is taking you along, you can help with the navigation. And please ramble all you want, it makes me feel better, or at least that I'm not the only one.

Autumn forest - Wish I could pick some and send them to you, I would do it in a minute.

BHE - DAryl in Ditchley almost sounds like Earnest Goes to Camp or something. (No offense, Daryl, but it is kind of funny to think of you being in NYC and then going to Ditchley. Be patient and humor us, we don't get out much.)

May everyone have a restful evening and a flower-filled tomorrow.

Karen Deborah said...

Girl I can so relate to the getting up in the middle of the night/morning. that is a cool trick to line through words. a trick I of course do not know how to do. Beuaty does require appreciative eyes to see it! Some of those big wisteria shots over ruins would be very cool. i am having such a hard time to keep up with all my favorite blogs since I started working such long hours. I wanted to read back at what I missed but it is 10pm and 4:30am comes way to fast and I AM NOT ASLEEP YET! so if i am remiss in visiting it is not because I don't want to be here!

foolery said...

Viola. Another of my favorite flowers.

And VIOLA! You have made me laugh yet again. Still. Absolute. Ly.

I LOVE that I think I get all your jokes.

foolery said...

And I have to share with your readers the song you bastardized yesterday in honor of my barfing daughters -- I laughed so hard when I read this in my comments!

Sung to the tune of "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree," I think, although "FAME" might work, too -- what the heck:

"Well, try a jello shooter down the old tummy,

It's been three long days, don't you dehydrate on me,

If you are feeling better
Then I tell you what to do,
You just get on the bus,
Forget about us,
Put the blame on me,

When you try some ice cold jello
Before you're reeaaaddy."

Courtesy of CBW, who is funnier than Jerry Lewis yet the French still reject her (HA!). Thanks, Cheeky. :)