Monday, February 17, 2014

My White Camellias are in Bloom!

One of the things that I truly look forward to here each winter is the bloom of my 'Nuccio's Gem' camellias. I planted them last year finally in the ground and this is their first bloom with their feet in the cool, moist soil. They just take my breath away with their ethereal beauty and I would like to share a few photos from my camellia bed with you today!


To me the flowers of 'Nuccio's Gem' are pure perfection!







This is a view of the whole camellia bed. It is not big, I know! The 'Nuccio's Gem' camellias are framed by two hydrangeas, 'Penny Mac' (a repeat flowering variety, that didn't repeat last year!) to the left and an unknown cultivar to the right, which have just started to leave out on this photo. In the middle I have planted a gardenia 'Veitchii', which does surprisingly well. To bring more white color into the bed I planted white impatiens. I just did this last week and I hope they spread out and fill in. To continue the white color scheme I decided to "decorate" the bed a little bit like you would do in your house with white objects like the lantern, the head planter, and the lamp-like hanging shell piece, that we bought many years ago on a vacation on Kauai. Don't ask me what the purpose of it is, besides being pretty! I am not sure yet, if my white deco objects are "too much", but if I decide they are, I can remove them very quickly.



I bought the lantern many years ago at Ikea and it has become quite rusty over the years. Usually I like a little bit of rusty patina, but in this case I would prefer if it would be pure white. I think, they still carry them. Maybe I gift myself with a new one.



This cast iron head planter is unbelievable heavy for its small size. I am very sentimental about it, since we bought it at a garden shop at one of the smaller public gardens that we visited in England a few years ago (unfortunately the name has slipped my brain, but I still can "see" the garden in front of my eyes). I tried to plant white impatiens into it, but somehow that didn't cut it. It looked just too homogeneous with the other white impatiens planted on the ground. Being less polite, you could also call it boring! Now I am thinking to put a trailing succulent in it or even leave the planter unplanted. As a matter of fact, I like it as it is!



This "shell lamp" from Kauai. I just love this piece for the look of it, but also because it evokes very special memories of our vacation in me.



Here is a close-up of the delicate shell strings. It looks handmade to me. If that is the case, it must have taken quite a bit of time to craft something so beautiful and delicate like this.



The bright green leaves of the hydrangeas are so cheerful. They radiate freshness, juiciness, and lushness. All sure indications of spring! I wondered why my hydrangeas were leaving out so late, even though we have an unnatural warm winter so far and anything else is way ahead of its time. The answer is, as usual I should say, because they weren't fertilized. My soil is so poor in nutrients, that if I don't fertilize almost everything on a regular base, nothing grows really well. The moment I put down fertilizer around the hydrangeas, they leaved out. Lesson learned! 



I am very happy with my gardenia 'Veitchii' this year! Gardenias have a reputation of being notoriously difficult to grow, but after being fertilized mine looks happy and healthy so far. I don't know if you can recognize it on my photo, but it even has set buds already. This gardenia has an incredible fragrance. I can't wait to smell it again!



It is surprising to myself, but this is the first time that I am growing impatiens ever in my whole life! I was looking for a small, white flowering, floriferous plant that would do in full shade and only cyclamen and impatiens came to my mind. Cyclamen I find quite tricky to grow here in Southern California, so I opted for impatiens. The variety is called 'Super Elfin White'. I have no idea how they will fare in my garden, but I am eager to find out. Hopefully they will become a little bigger soon and brighten up this space with their clear white flowers.



Located on the very left side of the camellia bed, the 'Penny Mac' hydrangea is even more behind in terms of leaving out than the unknown variety to the right. I hope its leaves will grow bigger soon, just to make the space look less plain.




Here are a few more beauty shots of the blooms of the 'Nuccio's Gem' camellia.









For one fleeting moment I am quite pleased with the way this corner of my backyard looks!

See you in the garden!

Christina



69 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Sigrun, you are right, white is a noble color. I don't know why, but since years I feel very drawn to white and can't have enough of it in the garden.

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    2. I have a 50 year old white camellia and have often wondered if the color was once a peppermint striped, because it had pink in it before I moved it from back to front several years ago. It is about 15 feet tall and it is very pretty.

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  2. Your camellias are gorgeous, the entire white bed is beautiful, but the camellias are something else :)

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    1. Dani, thank you so much for your enthusiastic comment!

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  3. Your Nuccio's Gem Camellia is wonderful, what me surprises is the pure white of the flowers.

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    1. Janneke, thanks, and yes, the blooms of 'Nuccio's Gem' are truly a pure white. A white that is that clear is very rare in nature! I think that is one reason why these camellias are such standouts!

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  4. Nuccio's Gem looks gorgeous! The blooms looks so pristine and pure and brings so much cheer and promise that spring is definitely just around the corner :)

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    1. Mark and Gaz, thanks, maybe not too many people would agree, but I also find white a very cheerful color. Here it feels like spring is already there in terms of the temperatures and how far everything is already in the garden.

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  5. The Camellias are beautiful, what a lovely, pure-white colour they have. I tried keeping a Gardenia as an indoor plant without any success. It was such a shame because the scent is gorgeous.

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    1. Wendy, thanks, since many years I am truly in love with the pure white color of 'Nuccio's Gem', it never has gotten old for me. I believe that gardenias like a lot of humidity and usually that is hard to provide indoors. I think they would thrive in a greenhouse in your climate, though!

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  6. I love your white garden. Your camellias a absolutely stunning. I love your lantern, (which you could take the glass out of and spray paint with white Rustoleum), your cast iron piece and your shell hanging piece. They add something happy and lovely to the already beautiful mix.

    Happy Gardening ~ FlowerLady

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    1. Lorraine, thank you, I have never thought of this border as a white garden, but you are right in the moment it is :-)! It will change when the hydrangeas are in bloom, though. Good point in repainting the lantern instead of buying a new one. I have to check if it is possible to take the glass out, that would be great. Thanks for the tip!

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  7. Hallo Christina,
    Deine Kamelien sind ja ein Traum in Weiß. Wunderschön und makellos.

    Liebe Grüße
    Elke

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    1. Elke, thank you very much for your compliment! I have to say that my camellias are not always without blemishes. I have deadheaded them fairly well to take these pictures ;-)!

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  8. I am waiting for my camellias to open up, but they are all pink. Seeing yours makes me determined to get a white one too. They are beautiful.

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    1. Jessica, I love pink camellias as well, especially the variety 'Debutante', which is quite common here. Unfortunately I don't have any shady space anymore to plant one in. Just a word of caution regarding white camellias, or at least about 'Nuccio's Gem'. The petals of the flowers become brown very quickly when they get wet. Since you have so much rain in the UK they might not look as nice for that reason. Maybe there are other more water resistant white flowering camellias varieties out there. I think it is worth to do a little bit of research to avoid disappointment later on.

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    2. Thank you for the advice Christina, I will definitely do that.

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  9. Mine are full of buds - a pink and a scarlet - but your white one is pure delight and pure white - it should be re-named Purity - white flowered plants certainly lift a shady border.

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    1. Elaine, I hope you post photos of your camellias when they are in bloom, I would love to see them. There is something very magical about white flowers blooming in the shade. Unfortunately I don't know many plants which have white blooms that like to live in a shady spot. But I am trying to find some more in the future.

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  10. Oh Christina - those are fabulous!!! You are creating a beautiful space. I do like that you've chose to dress the area too - it adds something different and as the plants grow you can move them around.
    Don't begonias grow well in shade? I'm sure I've read that somewhere but don't quote me ;)
    You know I've scrolled up and down at least half a dozen time admiring those Camellias - I'm thinking maybe I should have one.

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    1. Angie, thank you so much for your nice words about my camellia bed! It really made my day! Good point about the begonias. I believe I have heard too that they grow in the shade. I need to do some more research there. Interestingly I didn't see them much in the nurseries here and I wonder why.
      I think camellias are really incredible beautiful plants, that enrich everyone's garden. They are once-blooming but their bloom period is quite long. So if you have the climate where they can life in, I definitively would give them a try. Just make sure you choose a variety where the blooms are a little rain resistant, since you have so much of it in Scotland. The white flowers of 'Nuccio's Gem' are very sensitive to rain and turn brown quickly.

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  11. Camellias, I love them! Anne-Marie

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    1. Anne-Marie, glad to see another camellia fan :-)!

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  12. Liebe Christina,

    wunderschöne weiße Kamelien hast Du und mit der Deko und den anderen Pflanzen - sehr elegant!
    Recht liebe Grüße,
    Ingrid

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    1. Ingrid, thank for your nice comment! I am happy you feel that my camellia bed looks elegant!

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  13. It looks amazing friend!!! The camellia is absolutely gorgeous and I love the white in the bed!! All of your accents so suit the space and it is a romantic and magical space! Well done friend...well done!!!! Nicole xoxo

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    1. Nicole, thanks for your enthusiastic comment. I feel flattered! I was out today in the afternoon and had a long critical look at the camellia bed, again. I have to say that in the beginning I wasn't 100% sure about the white accents, but they have grown on me and I like it quite a bit right now.

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  14. The Nuccio's Gem is a beauty. I tthink it could even be worn as a corsage! You should have some beautiful flowers on your hydrangeas in a few months. I like the looks of your white garden ornaments with the white flowers. You have the makings for a "Moonlight Garden!"

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    1. Dorothy, the hydrangeas have made quite a leap forward since I published this post. The whole bed looks better now, since they are leaved out more. I have to go out at night and see if this little garden bed glows in the moonlight. That certainly would be nice :-)!

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  15. Hallo Christina,
    Deine Kamelien sind ein Traum!!! Hier ist die Freilandkultur von Kamelien sehr schwierig, da die Knospen bei Frost und Sonne oft vertrocknen. Meine Nachbarin liebt Kamelien und hatte bis vor einigen Jahre mehrere Büsche im Vorgarten. Ich kann mich erinnern, dass sie nur einmal, vor vielen Jahren, wirklich schön geblüht haben, dann kamen mehrere sehr kalte Winter, die die Büsche leider nach und nach dahinrafften...Euer Klima ist für Kamelien bestimmt optimal.

    Ganz liebe Grüße, Bärbel

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    1. Baerbel, thank you so much! Actually I didn't even think that you can grow camellias outdoors in Germany, because my understanding is that they can't take any frost. So sad that you neighbor lost hers :-(. Growing camellias in Southern California, where I live, is not ideal, because it is too hot here in the summer and in general they would prefer a higher humidity than our climate has to offer. But mine seem to like the spot that they are planted in and I make sure that they are sufficiently watered.

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  16. What a beautiful part in your garden. The camelia's are so gorgeous. I think your climate is great to get so many flowerbuds. I have a white one in my garden but it's very young. I hope it will bring me a lot of flowers in the future.
    I wish you a wonderful week ahead Christina.

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    1. Marijke, thanks for your kind words about my camellia bed! I think, when my camellias were growing still in containers they did set even more buds. I assume, that this year their main energy was going into developing a good root system in the ground. I am curious to see, what they will do next winter. Good luck with your white camellia. I hope you will post photos on your blog of it, when it blooms.

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  17. Your camellias are such a wonderful sight to see.The Nuccio's Gem is breathtaking and you have photographed it so beautifully! We are still in winter mode here with temperatures up in the 40's today after a very long time...downright tropical compared to the way it was! Have a great rest of the week!

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    1. Lee, thanks for your kind words about my camellias and my photography! Hope you don't get another cold spell and the weather is warming up even more for you soon!

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  18. Nice camellias. I too am fond of white in the garden.

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    1. Mystic Dreamer, thanks, this year I intend to bring many more white flowering plants to my garden. I just love this color!

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    2. Christina, as per your comment on my blog, yes I grow the cattleyas outdoors. I only have a couple and they don't really have a scent. I have mostly hard cane dendrobiums and they grow like weeds here. They are always in bloom.

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    3. Mystic Dreamer, thanks for your response to my question on your blog! You are so lucky that you can grow cattleyas and dendrobiums outdoors, especially when the latter grow so well. I didn't have any luck with growing dendrobiums indoors either. I believe they need more humidity, than I can offer them.

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  19. Your camellias and gardenias are lovely--two plants I certainly wish we could grow here in the Midwest. The white blossoms make this area look so peaceful, and I like the accents you've added. Some trailing sedum would look nice in the cast iron head, I think.

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    1. Rose, thanks, you are right there is something peaceful and calming that goes along with the color white. I like your idea of a trailing sedum for the head planter. I will see if I can find one in the local nurseries.

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  20. Your Camellias are truly etheral beauty. So, pretty. Do they have good smell? I love the smell of Gardenia. I was almost buying one this year, but then stopped as they are annual here -- will not be able to handle the cold temperature of NJ. Your site really looks beautiful -- I am honest. It's so pretty and clean and nicely arranged. Are those palm or banana plant by the sides? You know you can paint that lantern white instead of throwing it away and buying another one :-).

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    1. KL, I am happy you like my camellias and thanks for your kind words about the whole bed! No, there is absolutely no fragrance that comes with 'Nuccio's Gem', but I know that there are fragrant camellia varieties out there. The plants to both sides of the beds are strelitzia nicolai or 'Giant Bird of Paradise'. They are neither palm nor banana trees. Regarding the lantern, Lorraine a few comments above yours made the same suggestion. I still haven't checked if I can take the glass out to repaint it, but I certainly will do.

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  21. I saw your title of Camellia in bloom and since my current post is of our camellia in bloom I came over to take a look. Your camellia flowers are an incredible pure white and I like your white flower bed.

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    1. Terra, oh, I have to come over to your bog and see your camellias in bloom, too! Thanks for your kind words about my camellias and the whole bed!

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  22. It's beautiful! Camellias are touchy here and it's way too cold for gardenias. Even the hardy ones usually die. Your camellias are gorgeous! Such a classic, pristine flower. :o)

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    1. Tammy, thanks for your nice comment! Yeah, it is too bad that camellias are so cold sensitive. I can't wait to see what my gardenia is doing this year. So far it really looks good and seems to have been growing since I published this post. Pristine is a good word to use to describe the white camellia blooms!

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  23. Was für wundervolle Kamelien!
    Sie wachsen bei uns nicht draußen - zu kalt.
    Und sie sind sooo anspruchsvoll!
    Deine sind einfach ganz zauberhaft und schon so groß!
    Ganz viele liebe Wochenendsgrüße
    sendet dir Urte

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    1. Urte, thank you so much! From my time in Germany I also new camellias only from the greenhouse. Here in my garden they actually are not very finicky to grow, they just need fertilizer and water on a regular base, that's all. But they are slow to grow, I had them for many years in containers until they reached a decent size.

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  24. Ah, February in San Diego looks pleasant :)

    I just chopped out a gardenia that got crisped to toast by the -2 temperatures we had this winter.

    A couple of our camellias may have to go as well, though a few of the more established ones should survive.

    Do you have any bees visit your camellias?

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    1. Aaron, yes, the weather in February is very pleasant here in San Diego in comparison to other parts of America :-)! Sorry to read that you lost a gardenia and possibly some camellias because of your low winter temperatures. Actually, no bees are visiting my camellias. I think. it is due to the fact that these camellias don't show any stamens (I wonder if they even have any!), so there is nothing to collect for the bees :-(!

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  25. Oh ! Christina que cette ambiance en blanc est belle !. Ce camélia à fleurs doubles est d'une beauté à couper le souffle. Une merveille que tu as entouré joliment d'accessoires blanc insolites et originaux. Bravo j'aime le décor qui ressort bien sur le fond du décor.
    belle soirée jocelyne

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    1. Jocelyne, thank you so much for your kind, enthusiastic and encouraging comment! It means a lot to me! In the beginning I wasn't so sure about my deco objects in this bed, but by now I like it quite a bit. Positive feedback like yours has certainly helped with that :-)!

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  26. What a pretty camellia, such pure white flowers, are both of the camellias the same, 'Nuccio's Gem'? And I like where you have placed them, on each side of a gardenia, when they all grow a bit more it will look beautiful.
    And I have the same lanterns as you, in black, I bought them in Ikea, I like your garden decoration, don’t take it away!

    I bought a gardenia last autumn, I didn’t know they were notoriously difficult to grow….mine is just tiny still so I am keeping it in the pot, it will just drown if I plant it in the ground. Not sure how quickly it will grow from now on, but it has a bud from last autumn so looking forward to seeing the flower.

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    1. Helene, yes, both camellias are the same 'Nuccio's Gem' variety! Don't worry the garden decoration in that bed will stay :-)!
      Maybe gardenias are not notoriously difficult to grow in your climate?! London is for sure much more humid then San Diego and you get more rain, than we do. They also don't like alkaline soil and maybe yours isn't. Mine are fairly slow growers here, but that also might be different in your climate. Looking forward to seeing yours, hope you post some photos soon!

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  27. It looks fantastic! So crisp and pure. The white is very effective and has huge impact. The camellias are gorgeous! Spring must be on its way!

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    1. Jane, thank you so much for your kind comment! We had a very warm winter here and everything seems to be four weeks ahead of its normal bloom time. On top of that we got a decent rainfall this weekend (yay!!!) and I expect things to explode for that reason in the next week! So yes, spring is well on its way here in San Diego!

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  28. It's gorgeous! I just love camellias, and have been wanting a white one. Yours has an absolutely perfect bloom! The white really stands out, and I love that you accessorized with white accents, too. It all look picture perfect.

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    1. Holley, thank you very much for your nice comment! There is something special about white camellias, I find. The flowers of 'Nuccio's Gem' are truly perfect as long as it doesn't rain I figured out last weekend when we had almost four days of rain, which is very rare for us here. They turn brown very quickly when they get wet and then they look really ugly and need to be deadheaded. I don't think that is the case so much with other colored camellias. So certainly something to consider when thinking about getting a white one!

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  29. Du hast ja wirklich einen wunderschönen Garten. Ich mag Camilien sehr. Bei uns müssen sie aber im Winter im Zimmer bleiben.
    Grüße von Marie

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    1. Marie, thank you very much for your compliment about my garden! Roses are my first love, but camellias come very close after them ;-). Great that you are able to grow camellias by overwintering them indoors!

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  30. I can't get over how flawless those white camellias look. They are absolutely gorgeous!

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  31. I'm in love with your Camellias! I'm thinking about ordering an 'April Dawn' Camellia and keeping it indoors during the winter. It's a hardy cultivar, but only to zone 6 and I'm in zone 5. But I absolutely LOVE Camellias. Your blooms are the same shape (double Rose?) as those of April Dawn. Love that shape! And they look beautiful with your other garden plants. I'm thinking those Impatiens will fill in like bushes in your climate. They even do so here in Wisconsin, so you'll like have a profusion in your climate. They're gorgeous! Enjoy!

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  32. Oh, nein ... nein ... nein ... nein ... nein ... liebe Christina! *hoil*
    Was hast Du nur getan? Ich hatte sie gerade gedanklich gelöscht ... DIE Kamelie ... :)

    Am Wochenende habe ich die "Nuccio's Pearl" (sie hat einen leichten Rosèschimmer) im Gartencenter meiner Wahl entdeckt UND mich schwerst verliebt. Wie froh war ich, das ich nun schon ein paar Stunden ohne Gedanken-Fiasko à la "ich möchte diese Kamelie bitte haben" geschafft habe ........................

    Hier ist Karneval ... die Läden sind geschlossen ... vielleicht mein (Un)Glück ... *lach*

    Mir gefällt Dein Garten mit all der weissen Pracht supergut und ich bin gespannt, an was Du mich noch so "erinnerst", wenn ich Dich besuche.

    Helau & Alaaf,
    Petra

    BTW: Truly in love with you shell-lamp from Kauai: ♥

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  33. Everything looks so green! I love the camellias and this one is especially beautiful. I'm hoping ours made it through the O temps we had back in Jan.

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  34. Hi Dear,
    they are breathtaking beautiful.
    Snow is gone in my part of Austria since a week - so I have snowdrops instead of your beauties!
    Have a wonderful time
    Elisabeth

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  35. Oh I love it! May I ask what you are using to fertilize your gardenias? Mine are a bit fussy, but I think it's because I'm not aware of the right way to fertilize them (I'm a newbie gardener still). What brand do you use and how much? Also, we just planted camellias last fall and they too are a bit fussy in my front yard. They have buds, but have not bloomed?!?! I checked the pH and it's where it should be...do you have any recommendations?

    And lastly, re: your post on January Icebergs from last year - I went and purchased the alfalfa meal as well as the the rose food (EB Stone Organics Brand), and was wondering if you tend to use both at the same time for your roses or do you use them different days? Also, how much?

    Sorry for all the questions, but your blog and garden really is an inspiration! Thank you in advance!!! I love your posts!


    Sincerely,
    Jessie
    acozycottageinthecity

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    1. Jessie, first of all I have to say, that I do have some experiences with growing roses, but with gardenias I am also still a beginner and trying to figure things out. I made it to kill two gardenias in containers, but the one featured in this post is doing quite well. So I will just tell you what I did. I planted mine in special soil for acid loving plants, since my soil is very alkaline. The water here is very alkaline as well so I put down a little bit of soil sulfur (maybe a quarter cup twice a year to shift the soil pH in a more acidic direction. I think, I fertilized my gardenia in December with a cup of E. B. Stone Organics Azalea, Camellia & Gardenia Food 5-5-3. That might not be the optimal time, but mine seemed to be so depleted. After that I mulched it very heavily with organic compost. That treatment has worked so far, because the plant has started to actively grow and set buds. Oh, and I forgot to say that gardenias like plenty of water. How much fertilizer to use depends on the size of the plants. I believe they give some guidelines on the package of the fertilizer. I would start with a low dose and see how the plant responds. You will find out by observing it if it may need more.
      Regarding your camellias: some camellia varieties are late blooming, so you might just have one of those and they might do just fine. I would just make sure that they are well watered, too.
      In terms of the Iceberg roses. For the spring fertilizing I use the E. B. Stone Organics rose fertilizer and the alfalfa meal at the same time. How much depends again on the size and maturity of the roses. I would start with the amount that is recommended on the packages. In my garden I use more, because almost all my roses grow in fierce competition with the Queen Palm roots, which probably eat 2/3 of the rose fertilizer. But I can tell you how much I used: 4 cups of the rose fertilizer and 2 cups of alfalfa meal/per mature Iceberg shrub rose. With the Iceberg roses I wouldn't be worried. They are not fussy and if you over fertilize (get a little leggy, maybe a little bit of powdery mildew) or under fertilize (may not bloom that much) them nothing really bad will happen and you can correct your dose of fertilizer in the future. I happen to find that if you fertilize organically it is important to fertilize the roses regularly in reasonable amounts, then just giving them one big dose in the spring feeding. Hope this helps! Good luck!

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