Gotta Garden

Monday, January 22, 2007

Camellias



An email recently got me to thinking (rethinking) about my stance on camellias. I had decided that I should concentrate on the sasanquas because they tended to bloom in fall and hence, would not be as susceptible to our erratic spring freezes. Much as I love camellias, I am not fond of brown blooms (from frost). However, I glibly replied to the email that even my fall bloomers were getting hit by late fall frosts...so, what was I thinking??! The reply surprised me. Didn't my camellias bloom anyway, with the blooms inside (the browned edges) still opening? Well, no, not exactly...but then, I got to thinking...maybe they had. I just hadn't paid attention.

So, I'm out...actually looking, mind you, the other day, and I spotted these buds: (okay, look UP...who knows where the second picture is going to land....)

As some of you may know, yesterday and last night winter finally arrived here and we had a pretty good snow along with some pretty good ice. I waited until late this afternoon and ventured out to have a look at those buds. Now, this next picture is not very good...but please understand I'm leaning out with gravity trying to pull me down this slope as I cling to a snowball viburnum that I have chopped up (it's going to come out...really)...so, I only have a few branches to hold on to...trying to see those camellia buds. I am too impatient to wait a few days when I might be able to actually walk down and see them...they might be gone! Drum roll...here it is, from about fifteen minutes ago:

Well, sheesh...that's not very dramatic when the picture plops right on top of the other...at the very top! To give you much needed perspective, the white on the left is the side of my house...maybe you're not dizzy now! Those two pink blobs are opened camellias! So, to my email friend (I'm emailing you now!)....YOU WERE RIGHT! (And, thanks for pointing it out to me!)


P.S. Yeah, I know, they're facing the house....but, at least they're blooming!

7 comments:

Ki said...

I have a sasanqua and a japonica. The japonica was much more showy with thick petals and huge boss of stamens or is it pistils can't remember which? The sasanqua is charming but the japonica is a much more substantial bloom which I prefer. I can barely grow them in NJ so I envy you. Good luck with the camellias. Now it would be something if you could grow gardenias.

Gotta Garden said...

Well hi, ki! Thanks for your comments! I think sansanquas are coming along these days, better than ever...but, I agree the queens are still probably the japonicas.

Acutally, I do grow gardenias...lol...I have two and I actually posted a picture of the first bloom on my Chuck Hayes back in July. I'm hoping for wonderful things this year (it will be the third winter for both)....sleep, creep, leap...I can dream, anyway!

Gotta Garden said...

....if I could only spell...some days, better than others...sasanquas!

Ki said...

Ah, now I envy you even more "Actually, I do grow gardenias...lol...I have two".

We bought several gardenias at our supermarket-of all places- but they barely bloom let alone thrive, indoors. And they barely have a scent. Since Arbor day has upgraded our planting zone to 7 I may be tempted to try the hardiest gardenia I can find. But I think it would be an excercise in frustration.

Gotta Garden said...

Hi ki: Oh, do give it a try! The two I have are Chuck Hayes and Kleims Hardy, both reputed to be among the hardier of gardenias. I believe there are a couple more on the market now also.

Here's the deal. Site them carefully. After the first winter, I thought they were goners. Both died back to the roots...but they did spring back (be patient). No blooms that year. After the second winter (last year), I saw the first blooms (very few) on Chuck Hayes, although both looked much better. We shall see with this winter as last night was supposed to have gone down to like 17...I'm sure they were not happy campers. They both have lots of leaves around them, so I will hope for the best. The problem for me is that while I have them in a protected area, somewhat, they probably get less sun than they would like...which has probably affected the blooming. Again, we'll see. I think they'd like it better against the back of my house (facing west, white wall), but that's where the banana shrub is, the butterfly ginger, the tuberoses, a dwarf canna, etc....

I suspect that getting them through that first winter was/is key...that's my thought and I'm sticking with it...lol!

I also have a fig (I love, apparently, to push the envelope)... and its first winter, I just knew it was gone (no protection...I think you probably should here), however, it sprang back up...whereupon I pulled the emerging leaves up, thinking what is this...ever have one of those moments, like in slow motion...where as you pull it, you go, oh noooooooooo....that was me, too late, I realized/remembered what it was. In spite of me, it came up again.

Last year, it grew quite a bit and even tried to have some figs...too late in the season, but I applaud its efforts. Now, it has been zapped and rushing rainwater appears to have eroded its soil...so, who knows what will happen next year. I kinda just experimented with it. I'm not of a mind to baby it. Besides, it was a cutting from a fig tree in the garden I volunteer at (a microclime site for sure), so I can always try again!

Good luck! It's all part of the fun, isn't it??!

P.S. I think I got a pic of the gardenias with snow on them!! I'll try to post it soon.

Carol said...

Here in zone 5, I dare not even think about camellias, but they are lovely and quite loved it seems by the gardeners who do grow them.

(On the pictures, there is a way to move them around if you switch the edit mode to see the HTML code. Then you can cut and paste the code for the pictures to other sections of the post. Or just remember that the uploaded picture always goes to the top of the post, so you can also try to remember to upload them bottom to top, uploading the picture you want at the end of the post first).

Gotta Garden said...

Thanks, Carol! It is such a work in progress for me....I will try the cutting and pasting because I just know there has to be a better way than just letting them fall willynilly!

I attempted my first bit of that with the Green Thumb Sunday....although I did use a remote host...I'm not sure how else to do that, come to think of it. So much to learn!

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