Is it a rose? Is it a peony? IT'S FEBUARY, OF COURSE IT'S NOT! It's early Spring's fanciest for flowers, the camellia!
CAMELLIA: THE DEETS
Fancy a cuppa? The camellia is from the same family as our sacred tea bags, the ‘Theaceae’ family. Check your bush before you put that kettle on; tea is traditionally made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis, the camellia we normally grow here is Camellia japonica - better to look at than to eat!
With lush waxy foliage smattered with pops of bright blooms, camellias range from bright whites, through to lipstick reds; with all the pinks, candy stripes, paint brush flecks, crumples, ruffles, and bursting buds in between, so there's bound to be one that gets you going.
HOW CAN I CAMELLIA?
Pot it. Lollipop it. Hedge it. Bouquet it. Or just let it be a big blousy tree.
Aciiid House Lover - meaning you'll want some of that ericaceous soil you see at the garden centre in the mix!
GET AN EYEFUL!
There's a good chance you won't stop seeing these once you spot one, but if you're a bit of a camellia fancier book yourself a trip to Chiswick House to visit their collection (one of the oldest collections under glass in Europe dontcha know)
The ornate glass conservatory at Chiswick House was completed in 1814 and is home to over 30 camellias. It’s the 6th Duke of Devonshire, William Spencer Cavendish or ‘the Bachelor Duke’ - easy tiger, who we’ve to thank for the camellias. The ‘bachelor’ brought them in along with an elephant - no joke, to entertain Queen Vic, Russian Tsars and other poshos gadding about in West London.
All this before running off to Chatsworth with one of the gardeners; the gardens started off the career of massive garden hero Joseph Paxton. After getting his hands - and knees dirty here, Paxton went on with the Duke to be the Head gardener at Chatsworth. Oh, and then he designed Crystal Palace - the original one with all the glass - all this, because of camellias!