Camellias in autumn remind me of rosettes. These bodacious blooms draw me outside, sometimes, before I have my coffee. Simply stated, I love them. I can’t get enough of them. Most likely, l have too many for some people. Good thing they don’t live here! There are Spring and Fall blooming Camellias. Luckily I have both.
In mid-winter, Camellia Japonica starts jamming in the garden. The buds swell all season, scattered along the length of the branches. As Spring bulbs break the surface of the soil, Camellias signal an awakening. Blooms like the skirts of a Flamenco dancer stand out in an otherwise dormant landscape.
Camellia japonicas have blooms in many different shades. When inviting a Camellia into the garden, certain conditions must be considered. Hardy in zones 6 – 9 this plant must be grown in moist, well-draining soil. Part sun is what she prefers, This will keep the blooms from dissolving as the dew dances on the petals.
A bit of protection from the strong winds of winter will ensure multiple buds and blooms. This easy-care shrub requires minimal pruning. A snip here or there for shaping is all that is required. Did you know Camellias are a water-wise shrub? Watering during extremely dry spells will keep this shrub healthy. It does not require excessive watering.
A smattering of mulch to break down and feed the soil is beneficial to the Camellia. Two common diseases that can destroy this bodacious beauty is petal blight or root rot fungus. Maintenance is simple, clean up any petals that are discolored and fall to the ground. Well-draining soil is a must to avoid root rot. One tip, plant a bit high and not level to the ground – this helps with drainage. The joy of adding a Camellia to the garden is truly endless. Jamming to jazz in my Spring garden always involves Camellia Japonica.
Camellia Sasanqua blooms are truly the rosettes of fall. Imagine a hint of pink from an inside window. It beckons you to come outside. Once outside, the sassy blooms open wide, revealing the gold underskirt within. Sasanquas taunt this gardener to put down the rake and simply enjoy.
This beauty blooms in late October and lasts for quite some time. I have cut bouquets for Christmas in warmer winters. Almost everything in my garden has an underplanting of sorts. My classic combination for the Camellias at the Cottage involves perennials. There is nothing like a Camellia with an underskirt of Hellebore, crocus, or Galanthus. I even have a few Muscari that have crashed the party, adding an unexpected spot of color. There is something about Hellebore buds rising as the Camellia finishes her show in mid to late winter.
I cherish my Camellias. The first time I knew it was going to be a love affair forever was in a Fredericksburg garden. “April Tryst” was the name and it was simply amazing. That name has stuck in my mind for the past 20 years. When I purchased my house, I knew that Camellias would dot the landscape as often as possible, along with peonies.
There are cold hardy Camellias and with the proper conditions, you can grow them as well. A true morning delight is a simple cutting in a vase, bloom half open with a perfect cup of coffee.
Do you grow Camellias? Do they taunt and tease you to simply enjoy their presence in the landscape? Would you take a snip to bring the beauty inside? Invite this seductress into your garden and embrace the bloom. It changes the perception of the autumnal landscape with just the right pop of color.
I wonder which Camellia to plant next? There has to be a spot…
Teri, Cottage In The Courtby