Sunday, March 14, 2010

Late winter camellias

Camellias are a stalwart in Southern US gardens, and every old house has at least one.

We have four, one in front and three on the side.

I thought that this would be a wash-out camellia year because of the hard winter, but it hasn't turned out that way.

Apparently, the exceptionally cold temperatures delayed bud maturation, and many camellias are in full flower now, quite late compared to normal years, at least in my memory.

The camellia in the front is the only one that I know by name: Professor Sargent. A wonderful deep red, its frilly flowers resemble carnations, not individually attractive to me, but in masses, they're lovely against the gray granite of our 70+ year old house.

The corner camellia is white, with a faint pink striping. It usually gets zapped by winter freezes, but this year's buds, delayed by cold weather, are flowering now.

The camellias by the kitchen door are pink, and quite hardy. They're flowering now, too, and have many lovely flowers emerging between the frost-bitten buds.

Alas, camellias don't exactly 'work for a living' - one of my screens for a plant worthy of wildlife-friendly gardens, but they're tough, hardy, and long-lived, and illuminate winter landscapes and cheer the heart of the gardener. That works for me.


  1. I have two huge camellias beside my house, but couldn't identify them until I read your blog post. They are Professor Sargent - how nice to have a name for them! I'd love to add another variety - your pink one is beautiful!

  2. The town I live in seems to be home to the most camellias I have ever seen. Every house has one. They're all in bloom. I sell more camellias at the store than almost any other shrub. I found one today that's white and pink striped. The house is abandoned. In a few weeks, I plan on taking a trip to get a cutting or three. I'm still searching for my deep red bloom. The only one that's bloomed for me this year is still a dark pink.

    I'm really starting to love this plant, in all its variations.

  3. I like Camellias, all shapes and colors. This time of year to see these great blooms warms my soul. Our Norfolk Botanical Garden has a wonderful collection.

  4. I bet they smell as wonderful as they are beautiful! Great photoing!

  5. Of course, camellia have NO scent, except for a few small species sansquas.

    I'd love to see camellias in their natural habitat someday, and see what they're like.


  6. Not a single house in Alaska has a Camellia out front. Our loss from looking at your pics...they're just not hardy here.

    Christine B.

  7. I rhink they're really lovely flowrs and hope White By The Gate has survived the winter...The buds looked pretty beat up! My only wish for them would be fragrance...big beautiful blooms need to have scent! gail

  8. I recently bought a house with a huge beautiful old camellia tree. I wish I could identify the variety...

  9. Lisa,
    I went to your blog and saw your camellia -- gorgeous! I've never seen an peachy-colored one like that. And the squirrel eating the persimmon -- what a great photo. Thanks for the fave on Blotanical.



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