Winter beauties- Camellias

This beautiful Camellia is flowering in the laneway near my house. The colder it gets the more blooms it has. I took these photos on a very wild and windy Monday… was absolutely freezing cold and bucketing with rain.

I am not sure of the variety…..could be Camellia japonica ‘Desire’.

There are two main types of Camellias. Camellia sasanqua and Camellia japonica.

Flowering season: NOW!

Most Camellias prefer semi shade or full shade as the hot sun will burn leaves and those very delicate flowers. They do like to have their roots covered with a nice amount of mulch and don’t love too much competition, so keep planting underneath to a minimum, if at all.

Camellias do very well as a screen or hedge, and are very pest and disease resistant.

Fertilising should begin with the first signs of new growth, even though the plant may still be blooming. Feed regularly during the growing season; September, December and February with a liquid fertiliser such as Aquasol. It is important to water ground well before and after applying fertiliser.

Apply Osmocote Plus as a six month slow release fertiliser in Spring and Autumn. Specially formulated Camellia and Azalea Food is suitable for use on established specimens: eight years and older (avoid using on potted specimens).

Some of my favourite varieties are:

  1. Beatrice Emily

  2. Desire

  3. Buttons n Bows

  4. Nuccio’s Gem

  5. Early Pearly

  6. Hiryu

  7. Pure Silk

camellia 3.jpg

What to do in the garden this month - August

Get busy during winter and you will reap the rewards come spring. 

Winter is a great time to garden! You don't get sweaty and sunburned and there is much that can be achieved. 

Flowering now: It is a quiet time for most flowers but some shrubs are positively blooming. Camellia japonicas, wattles, flowering quince, poinsettias, and beautifully scented daphne, osmanthus and winter honeysuckle are all flowering despite the cold. 

What to plant: Lots of desirable plants are presently in their dormant stage- this can save you money and they are easy to transport. Examples of these are maples, fruit, and blossom trees, berry plants.

It's not too late to plant bare rooted roses, and its a great time to plant annuals such as pansies, english daisies, lobelia and sweet alice. They grow well in pots and window baskets, make excellent borders for paths and can be colour coordinated. 

What to do: Weed your lawn. It will be that much nicer in summer if you remember to deal with bind weed now, before it develops those annoying seeds that ruin barefoot romps. You can identify bindii easily- it has light green ferny leaves and spreads like a low ground cover. Either dig it out by hand, or use a selective weed killer. 

Provide shelter. Protect young or frost sensitive plants with a light hessian throw. Take care to shelter young trees and sensitive plants from the winter winds. Use shade cloth as a screen or, if you have staked trees, make sure they have flexible ties so branches bend in the wind rather than snap. 

Get ahead. Use the downtime to read over garden books and make plans for the spring, spruce up your garden tools and add to your collection of garden wares.