An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

March 18, 2008

Plants Are Not Avid Readers

I have learned that plants do not always read the gardening books that tell them where they will grow and how they should behave. I have seen a fair number of Hydrangeas planted in full sun, Yuccas in shade, Dogwoods in poor soil, and tropicals that come back when they are left in the ground over winter. At my son's elementary school there are about a dozen Camellias (Camellia japonica) that are thriving in full sun, compacted soil and with no supplemental watering or nutrients. Each of these is about the size of an SUV and are in full bloom right now.
This one is by the front entrance, underneath the flagpole., -- -- and here is a close up of the blooms.
There are also several at the entrance to the library and auditorium.

As is often the case with Camellias, this one has two different flower types, ---

-- half is this dark pink, --
-- and the other half is a bi-color.
These two photos are of one of the largest at the school.
This school was built in the late 30's or 40's and has an institutional, modernist architectural style. It occupies a small peninsula on the Lafayette River and has a good number of large Southern Magnolias, Loblolly Pines and a few impressive Live Oaks, as well as the Camellias. It is quite different then where I went to elementary school at what was then brand new construction in the middle of the burbs around Richmond. It was devoid of any trees and shrubs, save for a few strays not taken out by the bulldozers. If you left the asphalt playground, you ran the risk of sinking to your waist in mud.


  1. I can not believe those camelias---and it's no fair. I have one that I babied---pleaded with--and hand fed it....but it is a dinky sick mess. Those look like no one does anything to them and they are wonderful beauties. I agee---plants do not read.

  2. Curious..., I'm exactly the same variety with similar two different flowers planted naively by my mother in the same heavy soil. It's growing veeery slow

  3. Anonymous,
    Thanks for stopping by. I glad your mother's plant is thriving.