Saturday, 2 April 2016

"C" is for Camellia.

The first "C" must be Camellia, very much in my interest zone being an Asiatic although now grown world wide and also remember the genus which gives us tea. I have to say it is also susceptible to the dreaded Cushion Scale which I am afraid I am now completely obsessed with. Another little problem is how do you pronounce the word?  The standard pronunciation is along the lines of kam-ee-lia, fair enough, but the likes of the wonderful Geoffrey Smith always pronounced it Kam-el-ia which as the word has a double "L" I must admit seems more logical. I don't have many but here are a few of mine.

Camellia japonica 'Mark Alan'

Camellia japonica 'Mark Alan'.
Camellias are typical Asiatic woodlanders which like moist rich tree litter in preferably dappled light shade to grow them well. In my experience, you  need to incorporate that dreaded peat in the mixture. I have to say that despite everything there are no signs of peat being phased out, unless you listen to the likes of Monty Don, nor should there be.

Camellia japonica unknown cultivar.

Camellia japonica unknown cultivar.
This white Camellia has been overshadowed and starved of water by a couple of conifers which I removed a few years ago, after staging a come-back it was covered in flower last year. This year not one in sight! Camellias are well known for not developing flower buds if they are short of water at the back end of the summer and last year although most of the summer was wet the late summer and early autumn were the best part of the year and it was dry which is all I can put the lack of flower down to.

Camellia japonica 'Adolphe Audusson'

Camellia japonica 'Adolphe Audusson'
 Being a fairly slow growing plant Camellias tend to be relatively quite expensive to buy although they are not the most  expensive of the slower growers. Propagation is from taking cuttings at most stages of growth including layering, although I have always wanted to grow them from my own seed and last year had some lovely plump seed pods develop and after waiting over six months for them to ripen found them empty of seed!
 
Camellia japonica unknown cultivar.
Camellia 'C F Coates' (Scotland)
Why include a picture of a Camellia with no flowers? Unfortunately this one only had one or two extremely degraded flowers left when I came across it but if you look carefully the end of the leaf is split and this is one of the rare "Fishtail Camellias".