Entries in camellia (8)


Pre-Spring in the Garden

Temperatures here have fluctuated from near freezing to shirt-sleeve warm. On warmer days I have enjoyed the chance to kick off 2017 gardening with clean-up and late winter pruning. Early bloomers are trying to push the season into spring a bit early. I know hard frosts are still likely; but as more blooms open daily, I am getting excited about spring. I won't say spring has arrived, but we are definitely into pre-spring!

Here is a look at some early blooms. Daffodils and forsythia:

Flowering quince (chaemoneles) with forsythia in the background:

Forsythia is an old-fashioned, common shrub, but who can resist its cheerful burst of blooms on a gray February day?

Daphne odora 'Marginata' has a pleasing fragrance and waxy blooms that contrast beautifully with its variegated foliage:

My pale pink camellia by the mailbox has smaller blooms than usual this year. I am amazed it has any blooms at all. We were 3 months into our drought last fall before I noticed its leaves wilting and finally gave it some supplemental water:This camellia began as a volunteer seedling. Its parent has red blooms.

Magnolia 'Jane' began blooming this weekend. It is often called a tulip tree because of its tulip-like blooms:

Hellebores are reliable late-winter bloomers:

Anise (Illicium parviflorum) 'Florida Sunshine' is not known for its inconspicuous blooms, but its chartreuse foliage and red stems light up the winter garden. The leaves have a wonderful licorice fragrance::

Finally, I came across these colorful little mushrooms while walking in the woodland garden. They were a nice surprise that came from all the rain we have been having:

Happy pre-spring!

You may also enjoy my previous post:  Are You a Plant Snob?


Camellia 'Something Beautiful'

I caught a glimpse of something pink in the woodland garden as I was driving away from my house last week. I was going too fast to be certain, but from its location I thought it had to be Camellia japonica 'Something Beautiful.'

Blooming at last! This plant has been a disappointment since I planted it several years ago. Each year it produced only two or three blooms, though I know one sometimes has to be patient.

Growers often create an artificial environment that stimulates early, heavy bloom set that attracts buyers but promptly stops when the plant encounters normal garden conditions. It may be several years before the plant adapts and begins to produce abundant blooms again. Very young plants especially may need several years to mature. Too much or too little water, extreme cold, or insufficient light are also causes of poor bloom production.

When I went to check, it was indeed 'Something Beautiful,' finally living up to its name. It wasn't smothered in blooms, like some of my other camellias, but there were enough to impress.'Something Beautiful' is a Southern favorite, with pastel-pink flowers, edged with darker burgundy. My particular plant produced a variety of blooms, as you can see here.All of the flowers in this post came from the same plant at the same time.

'Something Beautiful' is a bushy, upright grower, reaching 10-12' high x 3-10' wide. It has glossy, oval evergreen leaves. It will grow in US hardiness zones 7-8, and it will produce blooms from winter into spring in acidic, well-drained soil, high in organic matter.

To encourage good drainage it is important to plant all camellias high, with their trunk bases above the soil line. Protect the roots with mulch and keep the soil moist but not soggy. Light shade under the canopy of tall, deep rooted trees that allow sun to filter through is ideal. To promote good health, keep spent blooms and fallen leaves cleaned from under the shrub. Wait until blooming has finished in early spring to fertilize. Camellias don't need a lot of fertilizer; once every two or three years may be sufficient. When you do fertilize, use an organic fertilizer created for acid loving plants. Any pruning should also be done immediately after the plant has finished flowering.

Here in the Deep South, winter is the perfect time to plant camellias; consider this one when you want something beautiful!