Camellias made of lace...

Silver and Stone. A white camellia served on a silver platter laid on a cloth which might have been made by the notorious lace makers of the nearby town of Camariñas; this is Oca.

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Stylish and cheerful, impertinently red camellias, hang from the branches in what used to be a fruit orchard; this is Oca. A pazo which is so baroque that it couldn’t possibly be more Galician or more beautiful. A thousand spouting fountains remind us of the sound of running water in the public laundry fountains which can still be found in Galician villages. The slow smooth movement of the ducks as they paddle about the pond is dreamlike, they bring to mind courtly elegance of silk. It is a garden in which, the hesitant winter light, conjures up all the subtleties of a poem.

”Keep working”, orders an accusatory finger, carved in stone on oneof the fountains. And the camellias take heed as they consent to the whims of one who, almost certainly, was their original master.

Since the origins of the garden in the mid eighteenth century, some of the camellias have grown to more than 8 metres high. Others, trimmed in the form of umbrellas, remind us that in Oca, they still can show off their foliage as late as April or even May, to coincide with the hortensias.

It doesn’t really matter if these are amongst the very oldest camellias in Europe, although indeed they are; nor is the botanical name the most important thing here. In Oca, the camellias evoke just one thing-Beauty.

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