Toto, we are not in Connecticut Anymore

fuchsia camellia

As  a displaced New Englander, this fuchsia Camellia that is flowering outside my kitchen window seems unreal with its abundant display of bright pink flowers.  Once a local master gardener stopped by and remarked that this is as far north as this species could possibly survive and the tree would be much happier south of Richmond.  He pointed out that it was carefully planted many years ago in the warmest and most protected corner of the yard.

When I look these blossoms, I feel like I am far away in the tropics or at least the deep south.  It is my “Toto, we are not in Connecticut anymore, ” tree.   It seems impossible that something this tropical looking could flower in Maryland, even with snow on the ground.

A few years ago, we cut small branches  from this tree and used them to decorate a friend’s chuppah or Jewish wedding canopy.  The flowers were perfect for the occasion and our very artistic bride was thrilled.   This past weekend, the couple came to visit with their nearly 2 year old daughter. They were so happy to visit their very own chuppah tree and take a few pictures under the flowering branches.

We have the former owners of our house to thank for choosing the perfect location for this tree and probably keeping a close eye on it for its first few winters.  Maybe they even wrapped it in burlap to keep out the chill.  These are the same folks who  carefully built our house and farmed in the same fields for so many years.  I think we can safely bet they never envisioned the camellia  blossoms gracing a chuppah, but I am quite sure they must have enjoyed the flowers too.


  1. I love this story on thoughtfulness, continuity, and unexpected blessings. Thank you!

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