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.

February 18, 2008

Camellia Time

We are lucky here to be in the northern limit of the Camellia belt, and this looks like it is going to be another good year for them. At work we got in some very large specimens for a landscape job we are installing in Virginia Beach, and I must say they were exceptionally nice. When the truck driver who dropped off our bare root roses saw them he said he had never seen such a pretty flower. He asked what they were, and if he could grow them. I asked him where he lived to see if they would be hardy, to which he replied - Alabama. The Camellia is the state flower of Alabama! How could he go through his whole life in Alabama without knowing what a Camellia is? George Wallace is rolling in his grave. Enough already, here is the flower he was so smitten with - April Remembered (Camellia japonica 'April Remembered'). It is a more cold hardy variety that is said to go as far north as 6b. I took a couple of Camellia pictures in my own yard this morning. The first is the Nuccio's Gem (Camellia japonica 'Nuccio's Gem) . I would have taken a close up, but the white flowers show damage from the lastest freezing night, so I took a little license. I like all of the Nuccio's for their formal double structure. The other Camellia is Les Marbury (Camellia japonica 'Les Marbury') and I also like this one for its form, which is a series of concentric stars. The advertised color on this is white striped with pink, but mine reverted in the second season to a unappealing pink, which apparently is common. I can only hope that it might re-revert back to bi-color or at least put a few out every now and then.
Below is a shot I took at Bill and Linda's of what I wanted when I bought my Les Marbury. Their garden is spectacular and I wouldn't expect anything less from them, than a perfect Camellia that blooms as advertised.
If your ever in the Hampton Roads area at this time of the year, and you want to see Camellias then you should head to the Norfolk Botanical Gardens. At their Hofheimer Camellia Garden they have over 500 varieties planted, and the rest of the garden is well worth seeing.

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