Camellia in Flower

How I wish to catch again the bright burst buds of our camellia in flower,

Candy-red explosions on the west wall of my childhood home’s driveway in Ennis, Co. Clare,

In April — or a good year, March — watch its riot draw the eye of those toing and froing along the College Road into town.

On visits I prune it,

And hack away the invading, greedy hands of the Tobins’ escallonia and griselinia.

I give it space, clear its base of weeds and dead leaves.

It’s given its feed of Miracid — brief respite from the limey Burren soil my father dug into the bed all those decades ago.

Setting it up on summer and Christmas sojourns, thinking with satisfaction:

She’ll flower in spring.

But in nearly ten years I haven’t been there to be greeted and exalted by her life-awakening bloom.

Old Gerry Browne, stooped, scurrying off to one o’clock mass at the Friary cries in to my mother that her camellia is exquisite,

A compliment indeed, for the Browne’s garden up the hill is an immaculate display no matter what the season.

During phone calls, along with the other news from home that I, sleuth-like, extract,

I ask about the camellia:

How are the buds doing?

Is it flowering yet?

How many?

I saw it was frosty; are they lasting?

Every year I vow to take an Easter trip to Ennis, to College Road,

But somehow my rickety plans never take root.

As they say: life happens.

I console myself by seeking out in my adopted city camellias in flower;

A visit to Fernando VI’s Royal Botanic Gardens, Paseo del Prado, Madrid.

Although over here the calid Spanish winter sun coaxes blooms by mid January,

And just past St Bridget’s day the flowers have gone.


About ucronin

Born in the country town of Ennis, Co. Clare, Ireland in 1975, I now live in Madrid with my partner and two young daughters and work in a research institute. While I was always a hungry reader and harboured vague notions of being a writer, as a young man writing was the furthest thing from my mind; after leaving school, I did a B.Sc. in Biotechnology in Galway's NUI, an M.Sc. in Plant Science in University College Cork and a Ph.D. in Microbiology in the University of Limerick, the plan being to dedicate my professional career to scientific research. While having written extensively within my technical scientific field, I had never contemplated becoming a writer of fiction until a road-to-Damascus moment on the N69 between Listowel and Tarbert, Co. Kerry in the summer of 2011. Since then, most of my spare time has been occupied with writing. In whatever other free moments I have, I like to listen to music, play the guitar and garden (which here in Madrid means a lot of watering of plants and spraying for red spider mite). My ambition is to become as good a writer as I possibly can, eventually freeing myself from the cold clutches of science and earning a living through my scribblings. The type of writing that excites me is honest, intelligent, well-constructed and richly descriptive.
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One Response to Camellia in Flower

  1. I bet it is beautiful! I just installed a Japanese stewardia, which is supposed to have camillia type flowers. . I can’t wait for it to bloom!

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