Camellias

 Short post this week. In fact, it is more of a love note/lament for one of my favorite flowers, the camellia. I love camellias. These beauties add a bit of color to the winter with their rose-like blooms. In addition to beautiful blooms, camellias are evergreens with rich, shiny green foliage that provides a beautiful backdrop to any garden year round. Any garden, that is, if you live in zones 7-9. That’s right, good old CoMo is outside the habitable zone for camellias (hence the lament). Though the Missouri Botanical Garden (MoBot) has a few nice specimens under cover.
Camellias at MoBot

Camellias are native to eastern and southern Asia. According to Wikipedia, there are over 100 species of Camellias! With flowers ranging from small pom poms to large (greater than 5 inch) single blooms and in colors from red to white (and many variegated combinations), there is a camellia out there for everyone! Camellias can get quite large, in my mother’s garden the largest camellias is probably about 12 feet tall, though they can grow to over 60 feet in their native lands. These plants are not just pretty, they are also useful as teas and even cooking oil.

 

Garden Club Activity

Because we are in Missouri, my suggested activity is to travel somewhere warm in the winter to see some beautiful camellias at peak bloom (typically December – February). One of my favorite places to go is Leu Gardens in my hometown Orlando, Florida. They have over 1500 specimens! If you can’t make it to a warm locale, then head on over to MoBot and see a few specimens in bloom. If escaping winter or heading east is not in your immediate future, you can always look at pictures and dream of warmer places. Leu Gardens has an excellent camellia photo album online. Pairs well with Hitachino Nest White Ale (Japanese roots, just like camellias) plus it has an adorable label.

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