and you, Camellia sasanqua


Clean white flutter atop a luster of green,
Setsugekka, I’ll find a home for you,
close in
near outdoor kitchen conjured
from steel and craft,
with you becoming
a leafy wall
in a fresh
young garden,
a new room to inhabit,
your scent lifting on November’s breath.

You captured her heart
in the nursery
growing potted
surrounded by other pots
on a vast gravel ground,
you mirror her heart,
light in the dark,
and so I bring you close to her home
to plant as soul retrieval.




and you, Cleopatra,
twenty years rooted in place,
planted when I was the age you are now
I marvel, I rubberneck
detouring home from groceries to see you
and stop,
steel myself to knock
on the new owner’s door
and marvel again at his ambivalence,
numb upon meeting the one who planted
the place he calls home.

Aiming iphone lens
(he’d shruggingly allowed)
at the clipped
and then the loose
sides of your flanks,
a hummingbird dives her gratitude
with a visit to nectar-centered blossom
after blossom,
after blossom,
wing beats pulsing positive feedback:
applause for you Cleopatra,
lovely pinked hedge.




and you, Appleblossom,
three years in,
weaving and wending
reliable wintergreen screen,
your espaliered face
masks the fungal gaps
of failing arbs,
the blankness
of fence,
with blushing petals,
brush of gold pollen,
under the gray lid
of November’s sky.

You love a trellis, Appleblossom,
a stout stake,
a thing to give you structure,
to guide your loose limbs
stretched in flower,
you grow to fit,
to green,
the tight and narrow,
the sheltered nook.




and you, Yuletide,
in my own narrow corridor garden,
burst into festive red profusion
earlier and more than ever before
after fifteen years in place,
thanks to the regular watering chore
of my teenager
stuck home
through a pandemic.

Do I love you more for
the gold of your heart
tangled with legs of bees and wasps,
the ruby of your petals
catching rare red depth of light,
the touch of your waxed leaves
as I pass on my hurried way
to laundry room?
I planted you for your zen,
your style fit the theme,
important considerations of my younger self,
now, I admire you for how
you mark November,
sync me to the calendar of life
as a kind of medicine for the season.




Of all the camellia species,
you Sasanquas are grace,
a Thanksgiving blessing,

without the marred reputation
of the more common Japonicas,
brown mash on the ground,
flower blight,
remove all debris!
but still beloved
later in winter
on the cusp of spring.

Sinensis is for tea,
but you too, Sasanqua
are brewed in Japan,
I want
to learn




I plant you in morning sun,
or dappled,
or even full
if not too urban,
not too intense with concrete heat.
I plant you in soil naturally acidic,
so familiar here
in this northwest valley,
not native
but hardy – if just,
and so lovely,
so dear
on this dreary November day.

I plant you
and give thanks,
you fill a niche
in the layers of the garden,
in the season,
this season.

Camellia sasanqua,
you are November’s Queen.


6 comments on “and you, Camellia sasanqua”

  1. Liisa says:

    What beautiful webs of eloquent words as we feel and witness your connection with nature.
    More please… too many here to digest at once.
    How about one at the end of your monthly newsletter?
    Nerdy? humm…… are nerds the one connected to plants? yes there are the scientists but….. there are the artists, the designers, the creators, and weavers of words.
    So many ways to share your gifts and talents and love of nature with the world.
    Shine on Leslie 🙂

    1. Leslie Davis says:

      Too true, Liisa, there are so many ways to connect with plants. So many that I’m amazed at how little is in the realm of common knowledge about them; the names forgotten, beauty overlooked, histories lost. I’ll keep writing. Drops in the bucket of reconnecting to wonder.

  2. Kathy B says:

    Who’s calling you nerdy? Just never mind……write on!

    1. Leslie Davis says:

      Ha! Thanks Kathy! We “plant nerds” can get a little exclusive. I hope to write for everyone!

  3. jasna guy says:

    Your poetry is very beautiful; it speaks to my bee and blossom heart.

    1. Leslie Davis says:

      Thank you so much Jasna! This means a lot to me coming from such a lovely artist as yourself!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *