Spring is just around the corner, but for its March Second Saturday program, Gamble Garden is celebrating a hardy hero of the winter garden. "Captivating Camellia: The Queen of Winter Flowers" welcomes families to the organization's Palo Alto grounds on March 13, 10-11:30 a.m., for a socially distanced event that includes a nature hunt plus an exhibit of these unique winter blooms.
Camellias' soft, flouncy flowers belie the fact that they are a lot tougher than they look — at a time of year when most blooming things are dormant, these evergreen plants will sometimes bloom as early as December. Their flowers range from white to deep pinks and near-reds, as well as variegated pink-and-white flowers.
Gamble Garden, a historic home and garden in Palo Alto, has a wide-ranging collection of the hardy blooming shrubs — about 50 varieties, according to Gamble's website. Visitors to the Second Saturday program will receive a map showing the way to about a dozen of Gamble Garden's most prized heritage camellias, including the Kumasaka, a cultivar dating back to 1695. Kids will receive a magnifier and a Camellia Tracker chart to mark their finds. And garden guides will be on hand to share info about what makes these plants so special.
The event also includes a display of plants from the San Francisco Peninsula Camellia Society.
Gamble Garden is located at 1431 Waverley St., Palo Alto. For more information, visit gamblegarden.org.