There are a large range of Camellias at Ness Botanic Gardens on the Wirral, and Camellia 'Frances Benoit' is one of my favourites. I came across this plant after it had been raining and the sun was shining through the clouds. I just had to paint it.
Mr A.K. Bulley was the founder of Ness and one of the sponsors of George Forrest, the plant hunter who introduced many species of Camellia to the gardens.
Camellias are hardy evergreen shrubs and trees. Their leaves are glossy, mid to dark green, and beautiful in their own right. The word Camellia is named after a Jesuit of Moravia, George Joseph Kemel. He travelled in the East and Asia.
There is an old wives tale that says: if you place your used tea-leaves around camellias, using them like mulch, it will benefit them. I don't know if this is true, I have never tried it.