January Top of the Month Club 2017
Last weekend it got so cold that I finally put on my purple winter jacket. Even though the cold was keeping me from working in my studio, I decided that it was not too cold to visit the local camellia nursery, Camellia Forest.
At Camellia Forest there are rows of protective cold-frame type greenhouses to walk through. It turned out that a thirty-five degree day with complete cloud cover wasnt everyones ideal for visiting a plant nursery and so I had the pleasure of having the nursery to myself. Upon entering the first house, I discovered that the camellias were arranged by age; this house was full of one-year-old plants. Most of the plants barely came to my calves; they were so small that the greenhouse felt empty even though the ground was covered with potted plants. As I walked the length of the house, I began to ponder the word nursery and concluded that it was an apt word and fitting to the circumstances: these plants were just babies! And like babies, they were going to need plenty of appropriate nurturing. For the patient, caring gardener with a good imagination, this was a greenhouse full of possibilities.
The next greenhouse had an empty feel about it too, despite being filled wall-to-wall with plants. These plants were two-years-old; they came almost to my knees and a few precocious ones reached a little higher. Blooms were visible here and there, but these plants still had a lot of growing to do perfect for a wise gardener who knew how to chaperone adolescent plants.
I was completely unprepared for what came next; entering the third greenhouse gave me jolt, like arriving to a party that was already in full swing. The house was filled from side to side and top to bottom with blooming camellias that were chest-high and taller. Flowers in all shades of pink and red were mixed in with bright whites; many flowers were bi-colored and some were striped like peppermint candy. The flower shapes were all different too there were peony shapes and rose shapes and anemone shapes, with single or double petals, in either formal or irregular arrangements; it seemed that there was a camellia flower in every possible combination of color, shape, and type.
As I was walking through this kaleidoscope of a greenhouse, musing that these plants fitted my cavalier gardening style, the sun broke through the cloud cover and butterscotch colored light raked through the greenhouse from the southwest. To my delight, the glossy darker foliage suddenly flushed golden green and the lighter foliage glowed chartreuse. In this spectacular moment, it seemed that I truly was at the edge of a camellia forest. Welcome to Camellia Forest, our January 2017 Top of the Month Club!?
Our wool this month is Superfine Merino. At 19 microns, this wool is incredibly soft. It loves to be spun fine with lots of twist but it also loves to coil and beehive! If you havent spun merino before, you are in for a treat!
Our wool/silk blend this month is new to TOMC: 80/20 Organic Polwarth/Cultivated Silk. Easier to spin than merino, Polwarth has a bouncy feel and a matte glow which gleams with the addition of cultivated silk.
The tonal colorway this month is Winter Teal.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
Our Instagram tag for January is #threewatersfarm.
Mary Ann and Stephen