This morning I was greeted by the first vibrant pink bloom on the camellia that has lived in my back garden since 1991. So, the twenty-first blooming is now upon me. It was like seeing a familiar face again and all I could do was stare in wonder and give it a big welcoming smile.
I remember as well as anything the day I bought the camellia. It was in October 1991 and I made my way out to McGuires Garden Centre which is about 5 miles from Tramore and wonderfully close to Woodstown Beach which has been a special haunt since childhood.
I didn’t know a thing about camellias, except what I’d read in a novel about their beauty, but found myself being introduced to them by a man who was as connected to nature as ever you could meet, the late Paddy McGuire who was the heart and soul behind McGuires. There weren’t many people around as it was early in the morning and Paddy McGuire was working away tending the vast array of plants, shrubs, trees ….. in the Garden Centre. I must have looked like a shrinking violet or a wallflower as I picked my way through the camellias reading labels about the practical aspects of how to grow them. Paddy McGuire gave me time to settle and then approached with a hint of hesitancy but warm, warm eyes and a helpful smile.
I left that day carrying a small little shrub and a promise from Paddy McGuire that I would never regret the purchase as it would bring a shade of pink into my garden every year just when I’d be thinking I’d never see pink again.
Well, Paddy, you were right and thanks for all your help and advice over the years and for planting that evergreen warmth and welcome of yours in the Garden Centre where it continues to shine.