For some, spring is the principal camellia flowering time, so at this time we see lots of camellia shows and bloom competitions around Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide – the cooler places. And we will be visiting the Camellias Australia National Show later this week in Melbourne.
For us in south east Queensland however, our main camellia flowering time was around 4 to 6 weeks ago. This difference just reflects climate differences. Walking around our garden this week, it is quite apparent that all the sasanquas are all done, most of the japonicas are well past their peak with some finished, some still showing a random bloom particularly the late flowerers like Midnight Magic, Cherries Jubilee. The reticulatas are still in full bloom. Also blooming are some hybrids like Nicky Crisp, Tamzin Coull, Gay Baby, Adorable.
It it is still dry and the days are getting warm, and this is the kind of weather that is just not good for our camellias. The recent westerlies are extremely drying and this results in our camellias going very soft very quickly due to the drying effect.
There is not a lot we can do about the weather, but we can choose camellias that suit our climate – and for that reason, we try to stay away from the very early flowering japonicas and the very late flowering ones.
So now that flowering is just about done, our camellias will very soon start putting on new growth. In this short window of time, we can start pruning – before the new growth starts. Prune to maintain shape, height, to thin out twiggy non productive bits, to encourage thickening growth on young plants. We can use secateurs, hand pruners or power pruners (my favourite); we can do a light tip prune, a savage ‘hatrack’ cut back, or something in between.
Whether we prune or not, depending on what your plants require, early spring is also fertilising time. Again, fertilising before the main growth season will give our plants the best chance to uptake nutrients. We can use a myriad of fertilizers – from liquid feeds (very labour intensive depending on the number of camellias you have), slow/controlled release prills, blood and bone, Kahoona (from Neutrog) or similar. Don’t be tempted to overfertilise – just don’t.
Then mulch, mulch, mulch. Mulch suppress unwanted weed growth, insulates the soil and root zone and retains moisture in the soil. It makes a huge difference.
And then we need a good lot of spring rain. Always water after fertilising – so if you can’t conjure up 10 to 20ml of rain on command, then you need to hand water. And not just a sprinkle, a good deep water.
Our camellias are very pest free when maintained in good order, but look for aphids in new growth. Hose them off, lick your fingers and squish them, or use a systemic insecticide if you choose. Flick off white scale if you see them, use pest oil or a combination of pest oil and a systemic insecticide (organic if you can – eg neem oil) if you see tea scale.
Look for red spider mite in the upper surface of leaves – usually early summer during a dry spell. This is when you get the bronzing down the centre of the leaf. Use a miticide to break the breeding cycle.
From here, hope for summer rain – we had great summer rain last season – and enjoy your garden – in no time at all, the sasanquas will be starting to flower again.
We will be open Friday 10 August and Saturday 11 August 2018 8.00am to 3.00 pm
This is unscheduled I know, but we have a few folk wanting to come so we thought, why not. We are out of some varieties, getting low on others, but still have lots to choose from – sasanquas for the sun, japonicas, hybrids etc for the shade and part shade.
You can still wander our garden; there are still lots of camellias flowering, and the magnolias look great – it is getting a bit dry though.
These pics show a couple of the yellow species camellias that are flowering. These are nfs, sorry.
We will be open at 8.00 am to 3.00 pm both days ….. as usual … and available other times by arrangement … just call in advance to arrange. Even at this stage of our season, we have more varieties than most folk ever get to see. We are running our of some varieties, but we will endeavor to find something that suits.
We have lots of sasanquas for those sunny spots, for hedges and screens. These can be shaped and pruned to keep to a height. Some are ideal for low hedges to 1 metre, others will grow 3, 4 or 5 metres. Just ask and we can make a recommendation.
Japonicas make a great statement plant for shade and part sun like the striking red of Little Red Riding Hood. Ask us about the fragrant camellias like Scentuous, Fragrant Pink, Minato no Akebono, Pink Butterfly, species rosiflora, Miyagii, grijsii, lutchuensis.
Heritage camellias like Great Eastern and Polar Bear, oldies like Paolina Maggi, higos Kumagai Nagoya and Shiranui, champion blooms like Royal Velvet, Ecclefield, great garden plants Pink Gold, Martha Tuck, unusual camellias Hakuhan Kujaku, Grape Soda, Shikibu, Walter Hazlewood, Alison Norup and Tama Honie (both Tama no Ura seedlings).
Wander our garden and see hundreds of camellias in flower, and browse through the plants we have for sale. Some of these are getting to find.
Camellia Glen will be open to the public this Friday 20 June and Saturday 21 June – 8.00 am to 3.00 pm. Our ‘open days’ mean that we are not closed …. and you are welcome to visit, wander the garden, see our camellias in flower – there are a few hundreds japonicas flowering now – a few magnolias, Vireya rhododendrons. And of course we have lots of beautiful camellias for you to buy. At this end of the season, we are sold out of some varieties, but there are a few hundred to choose from. We even found some nice Reticulata Ellie’s Girl, a Dr Clifford Parks, Francie L. There are lots of the small leaved fragrant hybrids as well as dozens of varieties of sasanqua and japonica.
And then there is ‘morning sun’………
Here in SE Queensland, we always recommend that japonica camellias flower at their best in part shade…… and someone will say that their camellias are in full sun and are just fine.
It’s a matter of expectation. If you expect your flowers to last only a day or two before they burn, then you will not be disappointed.
This Great Eastern in our garden gets morning sun. From a distance it is full of colour; the closer you get, the more you see the sunburnt flowers.
But there are always the ones on the other side of the bush.
Great Eastern gets a fair bit of morning sun. Looks full of colour and pretty good from a distance.
This Sunday, the Queensland Camellia Society is holding its Camellia Show …. venue as above. There will be displays of camellias, talks and demonstrations, plant sales, lots of people to ask questions of, morning teas etc, raffle. Should be fun.
Doors open at 9.00am and close at 3.00pm (not 4.00 as indicated on the brochure).
Maleny Garden Club big ‘Gardening on the Edge’ Show, this weekend
Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th June 2018
Morning teas and lunch.
Five open gardens to visit.
Lots of plants for sale.
We will have a great range of camellias – sasanquas, japonicas, hybrids, a few species. Some with very large flowers to 15 cm and some miniatures at just 3 cm. Some tall, some not so tall, some fragrant …. all beautiful.
These are some of the plants we have prepared ready to go. If we don’t get to take it up this weekend, we will have it at the Nursery. The Nursery will also be open Saturday and Sunday. Come visit.
First day of winter and the sun is shining and the sky is blue. The camellias are showing off …. sasanquas in flower and the japonicas and hybrids and starting to flower.
Our ‘open to the public’ days are the opportunity for you to visit, wander our garden, and a chance to buy some for yours. Whether you want one plant or a hundred, we are happy for you to visit. We can give advice and help with your selection. We will even do a soil test for you if you need to check your pH. Just bring in a small handful of soil from your planting spot.
We have a range of sasanqua for the sun … about 40 different varieties, and japonicas, hybrids and species for part shade .. about 140 varieties..
Come for a drive … it is going to be a great weekend. We are also available by appointment. Check this site for details.
This is Camellia japonica Vale Beauty …. flowering now.