I was reminded by a neighbor this morning that property values on the Shore are increased by the number and age of the camellias growing there! My house is small and humble, but not so my camellias! There are a number of things which increase property values, I guess, depending on where you live… a flat yard in the Poconos, for example and stone walls. Here on the shore all is flat except for a very few “hills” hidden away on a back road, where the elevation changes by about 30 feet or so. Stones are also rare, most of them have been brought here from way beyond our shores. I bring a few each year from my house in the Poconos… just because.
I have given camellias to friends up north who kept them on their sun porches, away from the unrelenting cold of winter. One friend kept hers in a half barrel thing on wheels and had a ramp built off her sun porch to be able to roll it outdoors in the spring, usually in time for the “onion snow.” One went to Reading, PA where I know it lived for years, the other to Michigan, and may still be alive tho’ in a new home. It was included in the will, can you believe it?
Many of my camellias are well over 12 feet tall. Some are old “named” varieties and thus more valuable, but many are the result of bees visiting, seeds dropping, and replanting the little ones, then being surprised to see what blooms develop. A few of these are close to 20 feet tall as I planted them when I first moved in here 25 years ago. Named varieties are slower to grow to such great height. A number of them were house gifts when I moved in. Those dear friends are all departed now, but the beauty of their friendship stays with the beauty of the plants.
My Camellias start to bloom in September and long before they finish, the next variety starts, then another. The latest to start to bloom doesn’t start until March. I confess, I love some more than others with Pink Perfection having been my favorite since I first saw it in probably 1967, the first spring I spent at home on the Shore. If you are really interested, there are a number of Encyclopedias of Camellias, my favorite being by Sterling Macoboy with over 1000 full color illustrations and the Japanese (or Chinese) names along with the English names, cross referencing for many with numerous names. The book is divided by the wild varieties, Sasanquas, Japonicas, Higos, Reticulatas, and hybrids. First to bloom each year, usually on my birthday, is this spicy camellia, one of the few fragrant varieties. You can see the fall foliage behind it. I have 2 bushes, each roof high. By the middle of Oct, they are covered with blooms. I love to see them at night. Nighttime shows off the multitude of blooms that the eye sees but the camera does not show as well in daylight. And here is a shot to give you an idea of how tall a number of them are. You can see the roof behind them, or a barn.
These are just some of my camellias, each a different kind in order of their appearance.
I might have missed a couple. I have started planting them out in the woods as I have run out of space closer to the house. As you can see (the pic of my hand and Ice Angel) some blooms are large, most are 3 to 4 inches, and Yule Tide (red with stamens and bee) is the smallest, 2 – 3 inches. The peppermint bloom, 3rd from last, is part of a tri-color bush with red blooms blooming first, then white and peppermint.