Just when you think nothing much is going on in the garden, along come the camellias! The ones you see flowering first are the autumn Sasanquas - which are more sun hardy and drought resistant, and make really good hedges.
Camellias fit into just about any style of garden, and their glossy green foliage looks good all year round...as a hedge, as a shrub, as screening, as a tree – you name it. There are several different types to choose from (Sasanquas, Japonicas, Reticulatas and species) so read the label and pick the one that works for your garden.
The main thing to know is that they need a slightly acidic soil (similar conditions to magnolias), mulching round the base to keep moisture in, a bit of shade/filtered light and well drained soil.
Now is a great time to visit the garden centre and admire camellias in bloom – there are loads to choose from! Here are some of my favourites:
For hedging – good whites include ‘Setsugekka, ‘Mine-no-yuki’, ‘Paradise Helen’ ‘Early Pearly’, ‘Silver Dollar’, ‘Silver Column’ (good for narrow spots). ‘Fairy Blush’ is gorgeous, with red buds and pinky white flowers and it’s scented.
Instead of box hedging – try Camellia ‘Itty Bitty’, C. microphylla, C. brevistyla
For groundcover – Camellia ‘Quintessence’, scented pure white blooms.
For containers – ‘Nicky Crisp’, ‘Quintessence’, ‘Transnokoensis’, ‘Bonzai Baby’
For general gorgeousness – ‘Night Rider’ has stunning small blood red flowers and new foliage. Also makes a great hedge. ‘Cinammon Cindy’ looks like little peonies, pale pink with a white center. ‘Tamzin Coull’ – a japonica hybrid, stunning pink blooms. ‘Yuletide’ is a good red. The Paradise range has some lovely pinks.