Camellia azalea from China blooms all summer off
and on through early fall.
fall camellia season at the Coastal Georgia Botanical
Gardens is simply incredible in its beauty and variety,
and I know the "Judge" would be proud. I never
knew the Judge. But I have planted many azaleas bearing
his name, and to me he was like a horticultural hero. As
a horticulturist I hope he would consider me a kindred
spirit. The Judge, for those in other climes, is Arthur
W. Solomon, Chatham County, Ga., Commissioner for 46
Judge, as was his honorary title, was one of the
founders of the American Camellia Society in 1945 and
served as its second president from 1949-1951. Today the
Judge Arthur Solomon Camellia Trail is one of the finest
collections in the country, featuring just over 1,000
camellia sasanquas, japonicas, reticulatas, various
species and hybrids.
are so many I would like to promote but one that has
kept me mesmerized: Crapnellís Camellia or Cinnamon
Bark camellia. It is known botanically as Camellia
crapnelliana. This is the first plant I show nurseryman
friends who may come to visit, imploring them to put
this plant into widespread production. Recently I had a
nice group from Auburn, Ga., and I made sure each one
saw this wonderful plant.
is so picturesque with its bright orange bark that
rivals the beauty of a crape myrtle. The foliage is deep
glossy and evergreen and would be a garden asset even if
it never bloomed. Yet today it is covered in 4- to
5-inch white blooms with showy yellow stamens that
are-bringing in bees and pollinators of all sorts.
must-have plant is Early Autumn, a Camellia japonica.
Everyone from nurseryman to gardeners is shocked to see
such an early blooming japonica. It has an exquisite
formal-double blossom that starts opening the first week
in late September. Just think about this when we are
still in the mid 80s and sweating. It will have been
blooming for five weeks, with its lavender rose blooms
commanding attention. I assure you will take the time to
get out the camera.
there are so many others that also will take your breath
away, like the Camellia azalea. When I tell someone
about this plant, their first thought is that I have
lost my mind and I canít decide if it is a camellia or
azalea. If you have not seen this impressive camellia,
you are missing a treat. First, botanically speaking, it
is Camellia azalea. Ours bloomed all summer and in fact
just finished. Can you possibly believe a camellia
blooming during these months? The flowers are boldly red
and large, reaching outward 5 to 6 inches.
are entering our best season for planting shrubs like
the camellia. Research indicates that planting trees and
shrubs in the fall will give plants almost a full
growing seasonís advantage over those planted in the
spring. The roots of the plants will get established and
continue to grow all fall even when top growth has
ceased. Next spring when new growth resumes, the root
system will be able to supply all of the plantís
needs. Feed a month after transplanting with a light
application of a slow-released, balanced fertilizer.
Feed established plantings with a slow-released
azalea-camellia fertilizer after the flowers have fallen
applying per label recommendations.
have everything you could want in a shrub, glossy
evergreen foliage and flowers that will take your breath
away. If you live in zones 7-10 and have a canopy of
tall trees with fertile organic rich soil and a slightly
acidic pH, then you need to consider adding a camellia.
I promise you will be glad you did.