What an interesting story.* I love old homes too.* I grew up in one so I understand what you mean.* It was in the Catskill Mtns. of NY.* I left that house when I was 19 and returned about 20 years later with my kids as I had told them about a lilac that was just outside my bedroom window.* The smell of that lilac was heaven and what really got me interested in gardening.* I always wanted one and this house I live in came with a small one that is quite large and gorgeous today. * I also told my kids about the crabapple tree in the back yard that my brother had built a sort of tree house in.* I would sit there for hours watching the birds eat the apples and just hiding from the world.* It was heartbreaking to see what had happened to my beloved lilac and crabapple.* The lilac was gone and the crabapple was a 10 foot tall tortured tree trunk with stubs coming out of it.* All the branches had been removed except for the main ones. The trunk was painted white!!!!* I was horrified and heartbroken.* I've never returned to that house.*
Most camellias grow very slowly.* Just think about how tall yours are.* They were probably planted at least 30 years ago, something like mine.* I have been pruning* the top for about 4 years now.* If you hard prune, the initial growth should be fairly quick.* In that picture from the first site, you can see how much growth took place after just one growing season.** If nothing else, pruning them will be a learning experience.* I'd say to prune the one on the right if you can live with the look.
When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.