The first camellia to bloom in my garden is Camellia sinensis, the Tea Plant.
No big drumroll for it is not the showiest, but then neither are crocuses, yet we delight to see them.
This plant is my introduction to the Camellia Season, and yes, this is the plant from which tea is made.
Fast on its heels is Camellia sasanqua ‘Sparkling Burgundy’.
Camellias and hydrangeas have the same cultural requirements; below, another good reason to plant them in close proximity.
This was taken in the ‘Circle of Friends’ so you can see this area is really non-stop beautiful throughout the year.
A bit blurry, but you get the idea.
BTW my Camellia sinensis has provenance. It was gifted to me from Penny McHenry but it was a seedling from the garden of Martha Tate.
There is so much colour in the garden now… it’s the berries!
Viburnum dilatatum ‘Erie’ Orange red berries
Viburnum dilatatum ‘Mt. Airy’ more what I call ‘Christmas Red’
Viburnum dilatatum ‘Michael Dodge’ yellow berries
Purple Beautyberry (Callicarpa dichotoma ‘Issai’)
American Beautyberry, the white form. (Callicarpa americana’Lactea‘) There is a more common purple variety which I do not have ….yet.
All of the above shrubs are exhibiting their second season of beauty. The viburnums will add to their show with fabulously coloured foliage, all the while retaining their berries. Viburnum berries require several frosts to make them palatable for the birds, so they have a long season. Between the flowering & berry show, they serve as supports for clematis.
It’s blooming…. As soon as I walked out the door I caught the fragrance. Osmanthus fragrans, known in the south as ‘ ‘Tea Olive’.
Tiny but abundant cream coloured blossoms emit the most remarkable and penetrating fragrance.
This is a beautiful, pest free, evergreen shrub that matures at 10 to 15 feet, and blooms TWICE a year; fall & spring.
To quote Dirr* “to not try the plant is to cheat one’s garden.” I so agree, and cannot recall a garden design where this plant was not included. It also makes a remarkable evergreen hedge.
This spring, at the suggestion of my friend Marsha, I acquired a new selection (Osmanthus aurantiacus) that blooms only once in the autumn, and the flowers are ‘pale orange’.
It’s hard to say how fragrant it is because I have Osmanthus fragrans planted much like Margaret Moseley* advised with gardenias, every 25-30 feet or so ,where an evergreen was required and the conditions are favorable, so the entire garden is permeated with the fragrance. I have followed her advice on this with almost every fragrant shrub in the garden. Something you might want to try if there is a fragrance you are particularly fond of.
I don’t take lightly any advice given by a 95-year-old gardener. Clearly she has much more experience than I.
*Dirr, Michael, Renowned woody plant expert. Author of the textbook A MANUAL OF WOODY LANDSCAPE PLANTS.
*Margaret Moseley, famous Atlanta Gardener.