After weeks of waiting, watching, hoping, today my Camellia has finally opened two of its buds to reveal its glorious peony-like cerise flowers. Whilst all the other buds remain firmly closed, these two have decided, two years after planting, that perhaps I do deserve a little reward for all my patience!
Camellias grow best in sheltered areas and in light shade. I have mine planted by the side of the petite source which runs between our house and barn. The area is shady and the cerise flowers perfectly compliment the grey granite stone of the wall.
Although the barn and house walls protect the Camellia from most weather conditions, they do not protect it against cold north winds, which probably explains why I have so few flowers. Camellias do not like brutal, cold temperatures. Following harsh winters their buds will remain firmly closed, and who can blame them?
This winter has been the mildest we’ve experienced since living in France; snow did not stay for long and in the main the temperature dipped to only just below freezing. As a result of these ‘milder’ conditions two buds have dared to open and reveal their frilly skirts.
Camellias are an ericaceous plant and require acid soil to grow. Care should be taken when watering a Camellia; use rain water rather than tap water as the latter can contain a lot of calcium which long-term will reduce the acidity of the soil around the roots. Camellias form their flower buds late summer into autumn and should not be pruned at this time. If you wish to prune your Camellia wait until it has finished flowering in spring.
I have considered moving my Camellia, but the problem is I can imagine how beautiful it would look in full bloom where it is; its flamboyant cerise flowers weighing down glossy evergreen leaves would add a perfect splash of early season colour to a shady part of my garden. If only the blooming thing would flower!
Next winter I will cover the Camellia with a fleece to try and protect it from the harsh frosts and blankets of snow. Hopefully this will encourage the buds to open, if not then I will have to move it, or just learn to love it for its leaves.
For now all I can do is look on with envy at the Camellia bushes which right now are in full bloom around France, all heavily laden with flowers. Perhaps mine will take pity on me and open some more of its buds, if it does, I’ll certainly be there with my camera!