November 14, 2010

The Camellias of Fall-Orange and Pink? it's natural.

Camellia sasanqua varieties start blooming in mid-autumn.
The Japanese cultivar C. sasanqua 'Omogoromo'

Camellia japonica  'San Dimas'

Being born and raised in New England, Camellia's we're known only as old greenhouse plants, found in century-old glasshouses on estates or as old florist greenhouse trees, where a few old florists still had an eighty year old tree growing in the ground left over from an earlier time when fashion stated that one must have a Camellia corsage for an important event. Today, the idea of a Camellia corsage ( or any corsage for that matter) is as quaint as a gloves are with an evening gown. Camellia's are left to those who live in the deep south, or in California, where they are still grown as landscape trees and shrubs, but not really collected passionately.

The lovely Camellia is making a comeback, slowly. Here in New England, although there a none that are truly hardy, a few new forms are surviving on Cape Cod, and in Southern Rhode Island, new crosses that combine the hardiness of more northern species from China. Slowly, Camellia's are being grown in more northern gardens, and with global warming, maybe it won't be long before I too can try some in my Zone 5 garden. But in the cold greenhouse, there are many I can grow, and every year, I try to add as many as I have room for.

It was surprising, to me, that there are many types of Camellia, and that the autumnal blooming species ( Camellia sasanqua and crosses) are typical Asian subjects in many gardens in zones 8, 9, and 10. The woodlands of China, Korea and Japan include wild species of Camellia in full bloom, along with the bamboos, the Japanese maples and other fall foliage displays. So, although it may seem visually harsh to see brilliant fall foliage and pink Camellia's, think again, for it is more than normal, it is nature.


  1. Anonymous5:34 PM

    Nice post Matt. I've always taken Camellia for granted having only lived in Mediterranean or tropical climates.

    Jacob Knecht

  2. Great compilation of posts here at your blog! I have only recently discovered it, but I plan to be re-visiting it for more!


Oh yes, do leave me a comment!