Tuesday, December 1, 2015


This summer when the best of significant others and I went to Seattle for a long weekend I came back with a number of plants - what else did you expect? - gingerly carried in my carry-on luggage all the way back to the other side of the country. Among them were two little camellia cuttings to replace a previous set that had croaked on me rather spectacularly - think sudden, total self-annihilation - late last winter. The previous camellias, which had grown beautifully for just over a year prior to their mysterious decline, were of the Camellia japonica varieties 'Victory White' and 'RL Wheeler' and I had bought them at the Lyman Estate in nearby Waltham. This summer's new acquisitions are a tea shrub (Camellia sinensis) and the old Japanese hybrid Camellia 'Showa-no-Sakae', which is supposedly a cross of Camellia hiemalis and Camellia oleifera, though the former is probably itself of hybrid origin. Unfortunately, it has not been easy sailing with these species either, since the edges of many of their leaves soon started turning brown and crispy for as yet undetermined reasons and the squirrels for some reason developed a particular liking for digging in their pots. Nonetheless, they set some flower buds, and now 'Showa-no-Sakae' has just begun to bloom, about two weeks after being moved to the sun room for the winter.

Camellia 'Showa-no-Sakae', photographed awkwardly from below

I am going to tentatively consider this a success. Maybe I will eventually figure out how to keep camellias happy in containers after all. I did see a small specimen of what looked like another Camellia hiemalis or Camellia sasanqua cultivar growing in the open ground and covered in fat buds in a front yard in Boston's South End the other day, but I assume that one just enjoys a particularly sheltered spot and the heat island effect of the city; not far from it there is also a fairly nice southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) growing out in the open...


  1. I'd call it a success! When I wish that we lived in a warmer zone, I'll remember to look at our camellias and southern magnolias growing in the ground with no protection at all and be grateful!

    1. :)

      I guess there is always something gardeners elsewhere can grow easily of which one will be jealous...


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