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First Camellia bloom of the season

The days are getting noticeably shorter here and the temperatures have dropped from the high 30’s of last week to a slightly chilly 23ยบ C today. I had to go looking for a warmer jersey for the first time this year because my normal cardies were not doing it for me anymore. So I guess Autumn is actually here. We will in all likelihood still have some warmer days again until the chill sets in in mid to late April. Such is Autumn here in Cape Town. One day you are desperately trying to escape from the heat and the next day you’re looking for warm clothes…

It’s my very first “caring-about-my-garden” Autumn and so I’m watching the changes happening in the garden with interest and some anticipation (and expectation!). I have lots of Camellias in the garden of varying age, size and types and am watching all of them get buds. To my delight the first one has started to flower – beautiful crimson flowers which I thought I would share …

[one_half]First Camellia BloomFirst Camellia Bloom[/one_half]

[one_half_last]… and the SecondSecond Camellia[/one_half_last]

These are on a small(ish) compact shrub (about half a metre in height and sprawling one metre wide). The first flower opened on Tuesday and today there are four blooms on it with about twenty buds ready to spring into action. I love these shrubs, I’ve had a few of them attacked by aphids and have been diligently spraying these bugs off whenever I saw them and a quick check today and the Camellias are bug-free (Yay!). How do I care for them? Regular watering (its been daily watering during our summer heat), checking for bugs and spraying, all got some extra compost a week ago and regular fertilising with special fertiliser for Camellias. And of course they all have a generous layer of mulch around them. That’s it. They seem to be pretty hardy because they are all beautiful, healthy plants.

Watching the Camellias of all colours and sizes flower will no doubt cheer me up through the next four months when not much else will be happening in the garden … and I’m sure I will bore you to death with endless posts and photos of them all ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve just been on the American Camellia Societies website which has an encyclopedia of over 800 varieties of Camellias … wow! I didn’t know there are that many. It looks like a great website, one I’m sure to learn a lot from.


By Christine

Dominated by large trees on a medium sized property, my garden is very shaded. With no โ€œfull sunโ€ areas I have to plant shade and partial shade loving plants. I love shrubs and flowers including camellias and azaleas but Roses and Irises are my favourite and getting these to thrive is a challenge โ€ฆ

11 replies on “First Camellia bloom of the season”

I love camellias and I have a couple of sasanquas that bloom in autumn. Yours are beautiful. Enjoy!

Who they are blooming!!! It was just Wednesday they were buds!! They look so beautiful and to see your garden in full bloom must be such a wonderful sight!! Enjoy your beautiful Camellias!!

Hi Christine, Camellias in Autumn now that is novel. Ours will start to bloom in about four weeks time, but its Spring! That’s when they are supposed to bloom. Looking for a sweater when its 23c phew! that is a heatwave, we have to find a shady spot in the garden with that kind of heat. I saw a guy a couple of days ago out jogging with only a pair of those 70s style shorts on, it was a blistering 11c, now even my seven year old grandson thought that was crazy.

Hi Alistair – Amazing how different our climates are and the human response to weather is really interesting :). Camellias blooming in spring … is that the norm in the UK? Here is South Africa they are Late Autumn / Winter bloomers. When I read your message I though that maybe I was very confused (and my Camellias were perhaps confused too), so I checked on the website of the USA Camellia Society and they say “Camellias bloom when few other plants do — in late fall, winter, or early spring”. So now I am wondering if this is different in the UK because your climate is so different to ours?

LOVE camellias!! How exciting to see the first blooms too…ahhhh! Camellias are fast becoming my fave and I will be planting my first one this year. Looking forward to future posts from you on these stunners. Nothing boring about them ๐Ÿ˜‰
Thanks for posting the link too. Off to check it out, I’m sue it will help with my selection. Cheers Julia

Hi Julia – They are really lovely shrubs and very rewarding. I keep reading that they are difficult – that has not been my experience. Compared to my Gardenias, the Camellias are childs play! Just watch out for bugs, water and fertilise and wow! They reward you! xxx

I still find Blotanical so amazing; as I’m waiting for the snow to melt and Spring to begin, you’re reaching for warmer layers! Thanks for the post on camellias; I love them, used to grow them but moved to a climate too cold for them! Love them!!

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