They Call me Cam

Well no, actually camellia is its proper name and this year mine has produced vast amount of flowers much to my suprise. It’s probably the first year that it’s done so well considering I’ve had my own fair share of disasters in this respect. Between my husband and I we managed to kill our first camellia plant. How? By not watering it enough so it slowly wilted and died. My husband had been given the camellia by his sister as a birthday present a few years ago and so we quickly made plans to remedy the situation as a matter of urgency. If she is reading this blog I’d hope she had probably guessed by now that the one on the front porch isn’t the original plant, but if we had successfully managed to conceal that, all I can say is now nothing ever remains hidden forever, the secret is out.

An important note to all amateur gardeners like myself, plants really do need water to survive and especially if they are in pots as they depend solely on you the gardener or they actually die. All though I could tell you my own excuse for my dear camellia not being watered , namely that It happened at a time I was growing a baby inside of me I won’t make any excuses. Reason simply because camellia plants should never be neglected because they demand so little and are truly beautiful .They are actually one of the easiest shrubs to have in your garden or plant pot.

So, in order to salvage the situation (i.e dead camellia plant) we promptly arranged for it to be replaced with an identical variety of camellia namely Bowen Bryant, potted it with soil and also got it watered. For the first year it produced no flowers . The second year I decided a different strategy was required and I fed the plant with Miracle Gro and topped the pot with ericaceous soil, but then all it produced was a mass of buds which aborted. Believe me that’s a word used in horticulture and literally means buds which form but drop off before they have time to develop and flower. Why? I had periods during the year when my potted Camellia did not get sufficient water. This is one difficulty if you have potted plants , finding time to water your plants can be tricky especially if you have a busy schedule. Something I find especially difficult with 3 year old child and a full time job. So although plants pots are nice you need to be dedicated to watering them or they wilt. The positives of having more plants out in the garden is that most often nature just caters for it through rain and dew. However this third year has been a revelation of the beauty of the pink camellia as mine is doing quite well. So what did I do differently to be rewarded with this mass of pink flowers this year? Nothing different except I watered the plant frequently usually once a week and again fed it during the flowering period with a good quality feed.

So what are the basic things you need to know about camellias and what have I learnt so far?Camellias flower from early spring to summer time and are classed as shrubs. They love acidic soils and if in a plant pot should be potted in ericaceous soils. Camellia’s prefer partial shade and are fairly low maintenance provided you don’t leave them to dry out. Water regularly but especially in July as this is when their buds form for the next years flowers. Feed with a good quality fertiliser such as Miracle Gro azalea, camellia & rhododendron continuous release plant food and in early spring sit back and expect to have a fabulous show of flowers. I loved the poem by Francis Duggan about the Camelia plant called ‘ Like A Beautiful Pink Camellia and wanted to share a verse.

The beautiful camellia flower that blooms fresh and young today
In two or three weeks if that long will have gone into decay
For flowers have such a brief span they quickly fade away
But in sixty years of living your beauty with you stay.

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Copyright 2016 Rachel McIlvenna

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5 thoughts on “They Call me Cam

  1. lovely tips, i and the kids tried to grow flowers and tomatoes last year but it didn’t do well. i am coming for advice if we are not late already for this years planting season. Thanks for sharing

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