Last year, the Southern California Camellia Society released a book called ‘Sun Camellias’ and it provides much information about these beautiful and versatile plants. Geared primarily for their local market, it does have information for other parts of the worlds including Australia – which is primarily our market. The publication used quite a number of our photos.
What is interesting is that many of the varieties named are the same as we grow here – California sharing a similar general climate to us. Even then, there are also different varieties mentioned.
This is true also within Australia, with many of the varieties grown in the cooler southern states not necessarily performing well in the heat and humidity in South East and coastal Queensland where we are.
Some places – like Melbourne, have warm to hot dry summers, and cool and wetter winters. We here, have the opposite – hot wet summers and cool dry winters. Hot – it is high 20’s today and sunny – and very humid. Wet – well this year we have had 527mm in January, 269mm in February and 421mm in March – that’s 1.27 metres. The ground is wet. We have been fortunate in that we have a very well draining sandy loam which drains freely, and we have only one garden that kills camellias because of the wet. We don’t plant there now, and have lost no plants, and all are looking very healthy and full of bud.
Care must be taken to see that plants are kept healthy, and a general application of a copper based fungicide helps here. Also, as the rain and surface water will take away a lot of the top mulch, it will take fertilisers away also, as well as this mulch. Consider re-fertilising – at the appropriate time – and re-mulch to keep that moisture in and to insulate the roots and soil from temperature fluctuations.
But this is a great time in the garden – the early sasanqua camellias have been flowering since February and some of the early japonicas – Arejishi, Takanini and Alba Plena – are flowering.
We will be having a series on open days again this season – the first on Saturday 14 April – 10.00 am to 3.00 pm. More information soon. Watch this blog.
We have many hundreds of camellias – something to suit every garden. Come and visit. We continue to be asked if we are doing mail order this season and, yes, we are. Please contact us with your requests along with a post code so that we can get back to you with availability and costings.
If you are looking for photos on our web site, please use the varieties list and check the photo from there. We are re-making the photo gallery.
April 3, 2012