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A history with Camellias

by Malachy - Horticulturist CountryLife Dungarvan | Apr 06, 2016

Jury's Yellow has always been popular with gardeners
You can notice a real stretch in the day as you walk around the garden centre here and also the affect this has had on people. With customers you can notice it has flipped a switch with them and suddenly they are coming in guns blazing ready to get going in the garden. 

It has been a busy few days lately with people looking to get their gardens back in order or set up for the growing season ahead. At the moment a lot of people are looking for new plants to add some extra spring colour to their gardens. One very popular plant that customers have been after over the past few weeks is camellias. 

Camellia is a flowering shrub with origins in the Orient. They are native to eastern and southern Asia, from the Himalayas east to Japan and Indonesia. They were introduced to Europe in the Victorian era by plant hunters and became an extremely popular plant during that time.

During the Victorian era gardeners thought that camellias were tender plants because of where they came from. Because of this in cold weather the camellias were brought in to heated greenhouses to 'protect' them. They soon realised though that camellias are in fact extremely hardy and can perfectly stand up to British and Irish winters. 

Doctor King has been very popular this yearAt the moment in Countrylife we have a few different varieties in stock for gardeners looking to add mid-spring colour to their garden. Doctor King has proven very popular in recent days thanks to its deep pink nearly red flowers and the sheer amount of flowers the plant produces. Mary Williams is one of the first to bloom from the selection that we have in stock. It is in flower at the moment with beautiful soft pink flowers. These flowers are notably smaller than other varieties only measuring around 2inches in diameter.

Curly Lady produces twisted stemsLady Campbell is a great variety for anyone after deep dramatic red flowers. While anyone looking for the ever popular yellow camellia, Jury's Yellow is the one you should keep an eye out for. Its flowers are a brilliant creamy yellow colour which have been extremely popular with Irish gardeners for years. Curly Lady is a relatively new variety that has twisted branches that offer something rather quirky for anyone after something a bit non-traditional.

Camellias will in fact work well in any kind of garden. They like a semi shade position and it is important to remember that they like an acid soil. This is easy to fix if you don't already have an acid soil as you can simply work some ericaceous compost into the pot or border you plant to grow the camellia in. This should be topped up annual to keep the plant happy. The plant will benefit from a regular seaweed feed which will help keep the leaves lush and green.

When you are picking your final planting position I would recommend finding a spot that doesn't get much early morning sunshine. On frosty cold mornings if the plant is hit with warm sunshine very early you will notice the flowers will turn brown on you. This is because when the sunlight hits the flowers early in the morning it defrosts them when the air temperature is still too cold. If allowed to defrost naturally you can avoid this happening at home.

Written by Malachy

Here to help! - remember if you have any questions feel free to pop into one of our garden centres or you can contact us on our Facebook and Twitter pages and email us at: hello@countrylife.ie

Malachy's Bio 
I have been gardening since I was 5 years old when my mother gave me a part of our garden as my own. I have studied horticulture in the National Botanical Gardens in Glasnevin and was a winner in the young horticulturist of the year competition. I have worked in Several plant nurseries and garden centers such as Mount Congreve in Co. Waterford. My special interests are plant propagation and Cacti!

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