Flowering camellias are one of the first signs of Spring in Portland. For the rest of the year, a camellia plant blends right into its environment as a pleasant green shrub, so it's only in the early Spring that I realize how many of these plants are actually scattered around the city.

I'm drawn to their perfectly shaped blooms and how the vibrant colors pop against the still muted surroundings of early March. These particular camellias were snipped from a tree-I immediately brought them home to put in water. After I took these pictures, several flowers came into bloom, before the weight of the blossoms became too much for the tiny branches.