Mercanteinfiera and the journey of the Camellia: from its origins to our days
By Quello Sbagliato(quellosbagliato.com)
In 1848 Alexandre Dumas wrote one of the most famous classics of French literature, ‘La Dame aux camélias’, known to all as “The Lady of the Camelias.’
Have you read it? It is a novel that moved entire generations and made them cry and dream. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you must go and buy it right away!
The ‘tumultuous’ life of the protagonist, Margherita Gautier, is an alternation of joys and sorrows, charm and mystery and is represented by the two colours of a flower: the white and red of the camellia. It is a contrast that symbolizes her total attachment to her lover: chaste and erotic at the same time!
In Chinese culture and tradition, the soft petals of the camellia, arranged in a perfectly symmetrical pattern, are a symbol of refinement and precision, but above all of eternal devotion between lovers.
The endurance of love, in the face of everything and everyone, is represented by the sweet and sinuous simultaneous detachment of the petal and the sepal from the plant. Together, until the end. It’s exciting, isn’t it?
The camellia expresses long-lasting love and embodies the essence of a girl who has chosen to rely ‘totally’ on the protection of the young man she loves.
There are many, fascinating anecdotes about the history of the camellia. The graceful journey of this flower among different cultures and the use made of it by various people has reached our days. Many don’t know that when we sip a nice cup of tea, we should be thanking a variety of this plant: camelia sinensis. It is cultivated all over the world and it yields the ‘superior, famous tea leaves’ that through a number of drying and oxidation processes lead to the production of black tea, green tea and white tea.
This is why in the next edition of ‘Archi e Parchi’, the Mercanteinfiera section dedicated to vintage pieces for the outdoors, the running theme will be an experiential journey into the botanical genus ‘Camellia’.
Thanks to the display by landscape architect Silva Ghirelli and the precious varieties supplied by “La Compagnia del Lago”, we will have the opportunity to explore both its use in the productive world of tea and its ornamental use.
Once again, this year I could not miss the opportunity of asking Silvia to give us a foretaste of this interesting and unique collateral exhibition.
Hello Silvia, welcome back! What surprises do you have in store for us at the next edition of ‘Archi e Parchi’ at Mercanteinfiera?
Hello Andrea, once again our objective this year is to excite and amaze everyone participating in this edition. Who will be the main protagonist? The camellia plant.
Through intriguing and ‘little known’ antique objects, panels and botanical sketches that illustrate the evolution of this plant over the years and in different cultures, visitors will be able to experience an interesting and exciting journey back in time. Above all, they will be able to find out about the variety of species of this beautiful and fascinating plant.
How was the collaboration with ‘La Compagnia del Lago Maggiore’ born?
From ‘an intuition’ that emerged during one of our joint projects. We both deal with the creation and design of gardens. What sparked the idea, however, was our shared love for art and sculpture. I’ll explain why.
The camellia is one of the plants that can be more easily shaped by human hands. Because of its numerous basal trunks, through careful pruning it can produce unique, evocative polycormic and multi-trunk plants. The weaving of branches and leaves that is created and the interplay of “full and empty spaces” transform it into a veritable plant sculpture.
The reasons for not missing this new edition…
Many of these unique plants created by ‘La Compagnia del Lago Maggiore’ will be on exhibition during the next edition of Mercanteinfiera in Parma. Visitors will be able to find out about them and admire them close up. They will find them enchanting.
There is another ‘exciting’ reason. At a time of the year when we are getting ready to see dry leaves and autumn colours in our gardens, winter camellia varieties will be blossoming during Europe’s most famous antiques, modern antiques and vintage exhibition. The blossoms are about to open and are almost ready to give us an edition of Archi e Parchi that will be ‘in bloom.’