Toast of the Town: Camellia
Camellia’s are currently the toast of the town from a delightful January 16th New York Times article interviewing local plantsman Charles Cresson to highlights in the January 2013 American Nurserymen. As a matter of fact, we received a visit from the International Camellia Society president, Patricia Short, this fall. We are also exploring possibility of creating a camellia garden along Chester road.
Camellias are enjoying resurgence and new found home in the northern latitudes due the breeding efforts of Dr. Clifford Parks of Camellia Forest Nursery and Dr. Ackerman formerly of the USDA. These programs have introduced numerous new cultivars that can be grown in our area. Local camellia enthusiast Charles Cresson has been trialing them all.
He has described these winter blooming camellias are true opportunists. Some secrets to their winter blooming success are: be frost tolerant; don’t open all your blooms at once; and produce buds that survive frost. If you don’t open all your flowers at once, when you lose some to cold temperatures simply open another frost-tolerant bud on the during the next warm spell.
Through Charles’s recommendations, we have had great success with these winter and spring blooming beauties throughout the Arboretum gardens. Check out some his winter-blooming favorites. These blooms will brighten any winter doldrums day.
A Dr. Ackerman introduction, Camellia ‘Winter’s Interlude’ is a lovely clear pink anemone flower with an upright habit. This little gem lights up the Harry Wood Garden as we prepare for the winter season from late October to December.
Giving us a show in early October through November, Camellia ‘Winter’s Star’ has rich pink single bloom. Another Dr. Ackerman introduction with a vigorous upright habit, this shrub performs well as hedge or border in the garden.
Keeping with the winter theme and Dr. Ackerman introductions, Camellia ‘Winter’s Charm’ has a lavender-pink peony-rose like bloom. With a columnar habit, this shrub blooms early October to November.
Enhance your winter garden by picking up these great camellia cultivars at our Fall Plant Sale September 20 to 22. Visit our varied collection of camellias this spring to experience our diverse collection of spring bloomers as well.