Camellia japonica

Japanese camellia
Blooming from late winter to spring, camellias are both cheerful and elegant. They can be grown in zones 6-9, in sun to part shade. They prefer well-drained, organic, slightly acid soil. Eventually they reach 6 to 12 feet tall, but they are slow growers.

Native to China, they are a member of the tea family, Theaceae. Camellia sinensis is green and black tea. Look out soon for the debut of ‘Camellia Senses’, a line of exquisite Japanese green teas.

Camellias have been used in Korean weddings for hundreds of years and are still a popular cut flower. Some are very fragrant. They come in hues of white, pink and red.

The lovely pink blooms I couldn’t help noticing were slightly double with lots of yellow stamens. The leaves were about 3 inches long, quite glossy and very dark green with slightly serrate edges. The shrub is part of the lush gardens around the Kennedy School, a restaurant/theater/inn in a classic old school building in Northeast Portland. It’s a perfect place to take visiting relatives. The camellia was sprawling against a railing right outside the back door, loaded with blossoms. I can’t help but be impressed with such lush, colorful flowers at this time of year. As I left I saw a hummingbird visiting it.

About Mulysa

I love my work as a landscape designer and artist. When I'm not planning homesteads or working in the studio, you'll find me hiking, photographing, gardening, baking, cooking vegetarian meals with friends, reading and working on sustainability issues...with my baby on my hip in Portland, Oregon.
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