The frost and gales of last week are a distant memory and the camellias that were trashed have mostly made a good recovery, with others just getting under way. It’s Camellias all the way down this week; if you don’t like pink, look away now. Or you could go back to the running man’s link hub and check on other peoples obsessions, there’s a lot of us have them.
I’ll start small with Camellia x williamsii ‘Perfecta’ (Jury). I think the story is that this was supplied as a new, unnamed variety to a nursery in the UK who shall remain nameless, who named it ‘Perfecta’. There were already two varieties of that name, making the name invalid, plus ‘Perfecta Alba’, ‘Perfecta Carminea’ and some others. The latinised form ‘Perfecta’ was also invalid. I don’t know if said nursery ever had it in their catalogue and if so, for how long. Nobody grows it now, which is a great shame as it’s a slow growing, free flowering beauty of a thing. This plant was started as a cutting in July 2018 and is now 25cm tall with a flower 11cm across. Grown in the warmth of the greenhouse it has developed stamens and a looser flower, I’ll find a picture of how it does outdoors.
Camellia reticulata ‘Mystique’. This was a variety I imported from New Zealand in my nursery days, it having been raised by a producer of young plants in Auckland. They no longer list it and it’s listed on the RHS Plantfinder as last available in 2013. It was never registered with the International Camellia Society.
I was perusing it today just a little ruefully as I planted it before the glasshouse nearby was put up or even thought of and it will eventually shade it for part of the day; it’s bigger than I would want to move. It overlooks the area I mentioned last week needed sorting out. The best view of it is from an upstairs window, or from next door.
Camellia ‘Annette Carol’. Another unavailable variety, last listed, according to the RHS, in 2014. At the beginning of the month this was covered in flowers, many of which were browned by the frost. So long as you don’t look too closely, it’s back to looking pretty good. I want this to get a little taller and wider, but will remove the lower branches, so it casts a less dense shade over a bigger area. The tall narrow variety to the left is ‘Spring Festival’ and to the left of that the scented ‘Koto-no-kaori’, stupidly not accessible from the path.
Camellia x williamsii ‘Charles Colbert’. Like ‘Annette Carol’, I want this to provide shade, but not too much and I also want it to block the eyeline to the neighbour’s house. I have cleared the lower branches and thinned the crown to let some light through. It will get thinned some more when it’s finished flowering. I need to trim it slightly so it better frames the smaller Camellia to the right and behind it. I need ‘Debbie’, to it’s left, to block the view there, and will let it get up to a metre taller. Yet another unavailable variety, last listed 2019, ‘Charles Colbert’, not ‘Debbie’. ‘Debbie’s’ the sort you could pick up cheap at Morrisons.
The splash of pink in the background of the previous picture is Camellia ‘Adorable’. I noticed a couple of days ago that its flowers were looking a bit limp, so I watered it and they’ve perked up. Camellias have to be half dead before the leaves start flagging, the flowers are much more delicate. I’d moved the plant in the winter, just a foot back from the path, and with the drying wind we’ve had all week, it was evidently just a little stressed. The soil all around it is moist but its roots haven’t grown back into it yet.
Camellia japonica ‘Bob’s Tinsie’. When I told Sue what I was going to put in this week’s six and pointed out what a parade of pink it was, with just a splash of red, she said she preferred the pinks, didn’t really like the reds. Over the last few years several camellias have been dug up and given away, like ‘Royal Velvet’ (deep red), ‘Odoratissima’ (bright red), ‘Eximea’ (bright red). I can’t believe I never knew she didn’t really like the reds, why didn’t she say?
I mean, what’s not to like about red? I was potting up Camellia seedlings yesterday, some of which will serve as rootstocks for ‘Mystique’. I grafted half a dozen ‘Frank Houser’ last weekend following a somewhat despairing phone call from someone whose plant of it had snapped clean off at ground level. They’re tied up in plastic bags in my bedroom, expectations of success very low. Then I spent two days at the Camellia collection at Mount Edgcumbe during the week, mainly taking pictures. Like I say, Camellias all the way down this week. The were some very beautiful RED ones flowering up there.
I’ve been out in the garden this morning, it’s a dull day, a little uninspiring, but I dare say I’ll find things to do. See you next week.