Thursday, December 07, 2006


But wait ‘til tomorrow!

In response to the emails about the camellias… this is the red one seen back-to yesterday.

It is considered a Spring variety of camellia sasanqua – if the fall days are warm enough – or if we have a warm spell in the winter – it only takes a few days of above freezing and a bit of sunshine – this little beauty bursts into bloom. One of my favorite pictures of it has the leaves covered with snow and the bright red flowers are blooming away in spite of everything. An amazing plant! I should not call it little, however – it is up to the rooftop of the carport. It was a “volunteer” – it came from seed here in the yard.

Debutante is a camellia japonica, in full peony form. Debutante is an award winning camellia as are most of the named camellias, and was planted about 18 years ago. She is well over 8 feet tall now and very compact. The blooms bruise easily, but the plant is hardy to zero degrees as long as the temps do not stay there for a prolonged period of time. Debutante will bloom sporadically on warm days and then spring into full bloom in March. This camellia was a gift from a dear friend, Sabra Kimball, gone but never forgotten.

Yule Tide is a sasanqua. It takes a lot of heavy frost and bitter cold to bruise these blooms. Normally it is still blooming on Christmas. Yule Tide, I have been told is over 8 feet tall. Yule Tide outgrew her original space (next to the tall red one by the carport) and blocked the drive beside the house so we moved her out front. It is dangerous to move large camellias, and they must be severely pruned to about a third of their size when you do move them – so can you imagine how big Yule Tide would be now if we had just kept her in her original space? Yule Tide was my first “house-gift” when I moved here 20 years ago. Thank you, Sabra.

Many of my camellias do not even show any color until late in the spring - end of March, early April. The camellia on the left is Red Emperor, a japonica, now taller than my little barn – about 12 feet tall. The other camellias in this area are all late bloomers getting very little sun.

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