Six on Saturday – 23/3/2019

'Spring Sonnet'
I suppose it had to happen. I’ve included a camellia in quite a few sixes and on a couple of occasions have indulged myself and gone with two. I wouldn’t say it’s the best year I’ve ever had for them but I do have several particularly good ones flowering just now so I’m going to go the whole hog and just do camellias.

Camellia japonica ‘Royal Velvet’. Nuccio’s Nurseries of Pasadena, California have introduced many very fine Camellias and this is another. I’ve had this a while but moved it just at it was starting to flower about three years ago. This is the first year since that it’s bloomed. Over four inches wide, dark red, maybe darker than it would typically be. Been worth the wait.

We’ll come to the small one in a minute; the big one is Camellia x williamsii ‘Charles Colbert’, raised by E.G. Waterhouse in Australia. He’d imported C. saluenensis from England and planted it among C. japonica varieties in his garden. It flowered well but in 1946 died after flowering profusely. 22 seedlings came up around it, of which this was one. Several of them became well known and widely grown. I don’t want this to get much bigger but reaching the top to prune it is tricky.

Camellia japonica ‘Nuccio’s Pearl’ is a bush that was badly damaged when one of our Eucalyptus trees was felled. I pruned it back but didn’t thin out the regrowth which has grown very densely but with thin stems which flop under the weight of flowers. At its best it’s a good formal double but it often goes awry, like the three centred flower on the right.

Camellia ‘Adorable’ is another chance seedling, this time the open pollinated progeny of C. pitardii var. pitardii. It’s a reasonably compact grower but I’m still going to start to restrict it in a year or two. It’s the small one in front of ‘Charles Colbert’, a dead bloom of which went unnoticed when I took the picture. Pah!

Camellia reticulata ‘Mystique’. I consider myself fortunate to have this. It was raised and briefly sold by a New Zealand wholesale nursery with whom I had dealings but seems never to have been registered and it disappeared from their catalogue. The reticulata’s are hard to propagate and the young plants we had were very slow to get established. It had twice as many flowers last year and it’s going to get big and I’m going to let it.

No, I can’t have reached six already. I’ll do Camellia japonica ‘Bob Hope’ and use the two I had in pots as a frieze. ‘Bob Hope’ is yet another Nuccio variety and is as good a deep red as you’ll get. The great thing about deep reds is that unlike pale colours, they don’t look terrible the minute they get a small blemish. In fact you hardly notice.

There were lots of things flowering, I took pictures of Muscari, Primroses, Violas, Skimmia. All passed over; another time maybe. Off to Rosemoor again today, second Saturday running, for the Alpine Garden Society show. I bet I can’t find my membership card.
Back later to read everyone’s sixes posts, links over at Mr Prop. He’s got tulips, I doubt he’ll be the only one.
In case you’re wondering, ‘C. japonica ‘Laurie Bray’ below and C. japonica ‘Spring Sonnet’ at the top.

'Laurie Bray'

22 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 23/3/2019

  1. Wow. Number One is possibly my favourite. There’s something a bit sultry about it. Fascinating to think that Camellia x williamsii ‘Charles Colbert’ dates back to the 1940s.


  2. Amazing camelias, Jim! I didn’t have room for a picture of my red one. The flowers are healthy enough but some of the foliage is rather yellow. Perhaps you will give me some advice when I put it in next week’s Six-on-Saturday.


  3. Gorgeous Six of Camellias, Jim …! My preference goes to the first (an intense red) and the fourth. I found the flowers different from those of usual but I am not a specialist.
    About the camellia, remind me of your website’s link specifically on camellias. I will soon have room for 1 or 2 small camellias among others and it would be a solution to plant them. Maybe I will ack you for advice…


  4. I have just finished a post called ‘Can you ever have too many camellias’ which will publish next week. It’s about Trengwainton garden and the camellias there were fantastic. So many different types. I only have the one double white myself and probably won’t buy any more, except I am drawn towards a pink one. Hard to choose one from your collection, but Mystique is a darling and I do like a deep red too. I am so glad you showed us more of your camellias.


      1. Lovely. I am beginning to settle my thinking on the pale soft pinks, the whites and then the very dark reds! I now have to think about heights and positions. There is a space being kept free for one, which above all else will have to at the hardier end of the scale. Thanks for sharing all the history too.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, Jim! The camellias are magnificent. I particularly love the vibrant red of the Camellia japonica ‘Royal Velvet’ and Bob Hope. I’ve never tried to grow Camelias here in Portugal. but looking t the size of yours, I don’t think I’d have the room even if the climate was not an issue.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well those all look rather fabulous Jim, I am beginning to get a strong case of camellia envy. I like the mutant 3 hearted doctor who of the camellia world but agree that its more normative sibling is more beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Heck, last year, I did six camellias for two weeks in a row! I will so six more next Saturday, although they are pictures that Brent took while shopping at Nuccio’s earlier in the season; so are not any that I work with. I have not been to Nuccio’s in MANY years. When we buy from them, they drive their delivery truck all the way up here to deliver so that they can see our rhododendrons, and bring some back with them. Their delivery driver in past years was none too keen on the condition of the truck when they brought it back. ‘Royal Velvet’ is not overly popular, but those who want it REALLY want it. I do not know if we still grow ‘Bob Hope’. Nuccio’s Pearl’ must might be our most popular of the camellias. I don’t know how to feel about it. We grow a whole lot of it because it sells, but I prefer camellias to be either white or pink, not in between.


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