Camellias in a Charleston Garden

Winter is the time for Camellias to bloom in Lowcountry gardens. The Coastal Carolina Camellia Society (2009 Show) says there are now over 20,000 named varieties of Camellias with more being introduced every year. With so many new varieties available to gardeners, the older varieties-referred to as heritage or ancient camellias are sometimes overshadowed by the newcomers.

For over 50 years my mother, Rose N. Muschick has diligently collected and cared for an ever growing collection of camellias in her Lowcountry garden. Many of her camellias were gifts from friends who have long since passed away.

I was in her garden today painting some of the many varieties currently in bloom. Here's a painting of a "Camellia in the Rain" that I painted from a flower on a bush that is one of her older, "historical" varieties of camellias. I think the variety was named "Princess".
I've asked several camellia growers if this is the correct name for the variety but they are unsure due to it's age. These camellias look as if they have a gold "crown" rising from the center of the bloom.

A few of her camellia bushes have so many blooms the branches can hardly hold them.
What a cheerful sight in the middle of winter.
I hope these photos of camellias from her winter garden brighten your day. Cheers!


Katherine Muschick Schneider said...

Tom Johnson, The Director of Gardens at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens and an expert in Camellia Horticulture was kind enough to comment on my question about the name of the camellia pictured in my painting "Camellia in the Rain".

He says,"There is an old variety called "princess" 1867 from Australia. It is believed to be extinct. There are many with Princess in the name. The problem with ancient camellias is that all we have are descriptions and artist renderings, which are not exact. I will research the photo, and let you know if I find anything. Any history you have on the plant will help."

Mom got the camellia over 50 yrs. ago from the garden of a historic home in an area of Mt. Pleasant,SC called "Pirates Cruz". Local legend says the area was used by pirates to land their ships and camp near Charleston during the days of the "Gentleman Pirate" Stede Bonnet (who was hung in Charleston in 1718).

The garden at Pirates Cruz was famous for the variety and beauty of its camellias. My mother has several bushes in her garden that she got from Pirate's Cruz in the early 1950's - but at age 94, she's forgotten some of the names.

If anyone has information about the historic "Princess" camellia, please contact me and I'll be happy to send photo's of the bush and blooms to help with an ID. Thanks!

Janette Jones said...

Kay, Love your work and the wondrous places you are painting! These camellias are to die for!

Katherine Muschick Schneider said...

Thanks Janette.
Best of luck with your latest exhibit "Joie De Vivre" at the Knowlton Gallery in Calif.
It's a strong, vibrant collection of paintings which beautifully convey your "Joy of Life".


Katherine Muschick Schneider said...

The International Camellia Society (ICS) has chosen the historical camellia (possibly "Princess")pictured in my painting "Camellia In The Rain" from my family's Lowcountry garden as "Camellia of the Month" for April '09 on their website at

The International Camellia Society has more than 2,000 members worldwide. It is also the official registrar of the genus "Camellia" and maintains the International Camellia Register.

Hopefully with this much appreciated exposure to camellia experts worldwide, more information about our mysterious, historic variety of "Princess" camellia will be discovered.

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