As usual, after a hot and dry start to our summer, we have now had some rain. Over 500mm here over the past week week or so and the garden plants are loving it. It is still hot, and humid, and with the occasional shower of rain. The grass is growing and the weeds have gone nuts – and the camellias, and everything else in the garden, are growing.
Most of the sasanquas are in bud with the occasional flower and japonicas are starting to bud but also putting on growth.
It’s not too late to fertilise if you have not done that but a fertiliser high in Phosphorus and Potassium will be better at this time of the year (mid summer). If you use a nitrogen rich fertiliser now, it will encourage the plants to put on growth – which is ok, but right now we are looking for flower development.
Don’t prune unless you absolutely have to as this will cut off flower buds and this season’s flowering wood.
Look for aphids in new growth – these will distort and damage new growth. Loopers and caterpillars will like getting into those new growth guard leaves – and these will chew through the juicy new shoots. Squish them.
Thinking of other jobs to do, don’t prune now unless it is absolutely necessary – you will cut off flower buds and all the flowering wood for this season. Re-label your plants – especially if you want to keep track of what you have (mandatory if you want to enter them into shows and bloom comps). Most labels will deteriorate and if the labels don’t then the little twist ties will. In our opinion, twist ties should not be left on the plant – ever. Small cable ties are great (these are ‘one use only’ as you have to cut them off but they are cheap), I’ve seen cattle ear tags used effectively (in Brittany in France), but best of all is a 30cm square of granite with a 45 degree angled top and engraved – although this option can be costly – apparently.
Anyway, get out in the garden, and get your hands dirty. Researchers are saying dirt and the accompanying microorganisms are beneficial.
Camellias from our garden – season 2019