Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Camellia

 I have to confess, there are times when I don't really like Camellias very much. Or maybe it's a matter of indifference. Could it be plant elitism ?  I know myself well enough to suspect the latter. Snobbery is so unbecoming ! Stroll around my neighborhood and you would be hard pressed to find a house that didn't have at least one -understandable since they possess many fine qualities. They are evergreen, they grow in shade, they bloom in winter and very early spring, some are fragrant, and an added bonus, they are in fact drought tolerant-mine receive zero irrigation in summer.I've never seen a pest of any kind bother them. They are the Sansiveria of the shrub world.  When I started my first Northern California garden in the mid- 80's I planted several, all of them pink with poofy peony-like flower forms.The rainy winters here soon taught me about Camellia petal blight;the ground beneath my plants was often festooned with slimy brown blobs that once were flowers. In bad years the brown blobs hang on the plant for awhile before they drop to become a pathway slip hazzard.

 Aforementioned  brown blobs. This Camellia was here when we moved to this house -it is small tree-size now , though I do a fair amount of chopping back after bloom. It booms for a very long time, but I dislike the color. This falls under the category of plants I tolerate because I would have to pay someone to dig it out.


 A couple of pretty pink numbers at the garden center last week.




Here is one that I actually like. In fact the last three I planted were white-I think I've decided it is my favorite Camellia color. I'm also partial to flowers with prominent yellow stamens.




13 comments:

  1. I do not share your ambivalence for Camellias, I am solidly in favor of them. Being southern, it could just be something in my DNA.

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    1. I support your Camellia love Les, It's a natural for your area.

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  2. Some Camellias do look nice and add some lovely colour in the garden in late winter :)

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    1. So true, and that's why I still have some !

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  3. Around here it's Magnolia petal blight-especially the big pink Magnolia soulangiana. Camellia is one of those teaser plants in Zone 6. If you have just the right protected spot and just the right cultivar you may be able to grow it. So far I haven't tried.

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    1. We have plenty of M. soulangiana here Sue , but the more common problem I see around these parts is late frost damage. They are in full bloom all over town right now.

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  4. I always feel a little guilty that I don't really care for Camelias either. I know it's silly, but they just look so, well, artificial!

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    1. That's why I like the singles best Scott.

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  5. I understand the feeling! To me fragrant camellias are not really fragrant :( and the flowers often look too perfect to be real (unless they have petal blight of course). However, they are some of the easiest care plants in my garden and the profusion of bloom in the dead of winter is very welcome, so I will keep mine :).

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    1. Keeping my meager selection too !

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  6. I like the white one you have pictured. The stamens add quite a lot.

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    1. I think the stamen thing is why I like Clematis so much Michelle.

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  7. I respect them more than I love them. I wish I could grow them better. Down the road is one that must be 10x10 and is solid perfect foliage evenly studded with perfect flawless flowers from the ground right to the tippy-top. It's disgusting!

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