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Marjorie O’Malley’s Woodside Camellia Garden: Over Half a Century of Camellia Introductions

Articles: Marjorie O’Malley’s Woodside Camellia Garden: Over Half a Century of Camellia Introductions

The O’Malley home in Woodside, California under a valley oak (Quercus lobata); tall specimens of Camellia japonica ‘CM Wilson’ flank the main windows. Photograph by RGT

Seemingly a world apart from the intensity of urban Northern California, majestic oaks tower overhead and camellias cover the hillside as we enter the driveway of this enchanting Bay Area estate. Here, in the heart of Woodside, on the San Francisco Peninsula, serenity surrounds us on this sunny March afternoon, with birds singing and squirrels scurrying up and down the magnificent old trees. We have been invited by the owner, who was a friend of my father’s over thirty years ago, to come for a visit and to learn about her garden. Burgundy-leafed Loropetalum chinense cascades over a stone wall, picking up the red and pink tones of nearby camellias, while the gray stone echoes the color of the low French-inspired house just ahead. Yellow daffodils—a sign of early spring—catch the sunlight. The owner’s collection of over three hundred camellias in full bloom stretches in every direction. Planted far enough apart to reach maturity without crowdin...

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