In Exposé #10 we meet artist and florist Tage Andersen. One of his biggest passions is the camellia plant and together with Dr Hans Trautner he has built up a collection of more than 200 varieties. These camellias are kept in his impressive greenhouse on the Gunillaberg estate in Sweden. He is so passionate about this plant that he has even devoted an entire book to it. What is it that makes this plant so special for him? Tage explains:
“I am fascinated by this perfect flower which produces flowers at the worst time of the year. Camellias are, and remain, my passion. I struggle month after month to get them to succeed, doing all I can to ensure that the bud bursts open and the amazing flower unfolds. That moment is a joyous one.”
“I acquired my first Camellia by accident - I didn’t know anything about camellias. I was given it in the year that I opened my shop in Copenhagen, exactly 50 years ago, by a gardener in the neighbourhood. I saw the camellias, Lady Campbells, blooming in a simple greenhouse. Back then, I thought that was the only kind of camellia. Now I know better.”
“I am fascinated by this perfect flower which produces flowers at the worst time of the year.”
“I now have just one single specimen of the Lady Campbell but am utterly fascinated by it. They’re only small plants: the largest was maybe 50cm tall. I sold them to my customers, but obviously kept the most interesting ones for myself. I supplement my collection with new interesting specimens and now have an orangery covering 300 square metres, mostly occupied by camellias."
"In Dr Hans Trautner I found a ‘camellia buddy’. For many years we worked together on our camellia exhibitions. He produced the small plants and I took over when they got bigger, placing them in my greenhouse. Nowadays, I don’t just want to put some plants in a row for an exhibition - I find that dull. We often looked for exhibition spaces with an orangery or an attractive location in Sweden or Denmark. We’ve exhibited in churches and castles and now I’ve chosen to invite the public to Gunillaberg, where the camellias bloom. I’ve been touring with camellias for 25 to 30 years. That’s enough. Now they’re home, in Gunillaberg."
Are you enchanted by the beauty of camellias as well? Start your own collection at home in your (mini) greenhouse, on your patio or in your garden! Read the expert’s story and buy the book "Tage Andersen, Joy and Frenzy, a book about camellias". You can buy the book at www.tage-andersen.com.