Fall-blooming Camellias Part 2

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

Red-flowered Camellia japonica (introduction in process)

In my previous article, Fall-blooming Camellias Part 1, I showed you my camellias and provided some background on the development of these remarkable plants.   Here I want to convey the astonishing variety of cultivars available for your fall  garden.

On December 2 (before the freeze), I was privileged to visit the camellia collection of Swarthmore, PA, horticulturalist Charles Cresson who grows over 60 varieties.  Charles not only showed me around his gardens, but helped me stage the photographs—thanks Charles.  Here are some of the incredible specimens I saw.

fall-blooming camellia 'Snow Flurry'Camellia x ‘Snow Flurry’ (Ackerman Hybrid)

fall-blooming camellia 'Winter's Dream'Camellia x ‘Winter’s Dream’ (Ackerman Hybrid)

fall-blooming camellia 'Autumn Spirit'Camellia x ‘Autumn Spirit’ (Camellia Forest Introduction)

fall-blooming camellia 'Winter's Snowman'Camellia x ‘Winter’s Snowman’ (Ackerman Hybrid)

fall-blooming camellia 'Winter's Charm'Camellia x ‘Winter’s Charm’ (Ackerman Hybrid)

fall-blooming camellia 'Scented Snow'Camellia x ‘Scented Snow’ (Camellia Forest Introduction)

fall-blooming camellia 'Winter's Beauty'Camellia x ‘Winter’s Beauty’ (Ackerman Hybrid)

fall-blooming camellia 'Cranberry Ice'Cranberry-flowered Camellia (not introduced)

fall-blooming camellia Ackerman seedlingWhite-flowered Camellia (not introduced)

The two photos above are of  cold hardy camellias that have never been offered  for sale.

fall-blooming camellia "Wax Lips"

fall-blooming camellia "Wax Lips"

Red-flowered Camellia japonica (introduction in process)

Of all the camellias I saw during my visit, and there were many more than appear here, you can probably tell that the red-flowered camellia in the photographs above and at the top was my favorite.  From its plentiful plump buds to its robust red flowers with bright yellow stamens to its dazzling dark evergreen leaves to its lush and  luxurious habit, it is outstanding.  It is a straight C. japonica  species collected by the Morris Arboretum in 1984 on an island in Korea.   The island is the most northern range of this species. Although technically a spring bloomer, it also flowers in fall.  Charles hopes to introduce it for sale soon.

For more information on Ackerman  hybrid camellias, read William Ackerman’s article “Camellias for Cold Climates”.  For a wonderful selection of camellias from a nursery that hybridizes them, visit the Camellia Forest Nursery website.  Camellia Forest is located in Chapel Hill, NC.


Note: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information.

39 Responses to “Fall-blooming Camellias Part 2”

  1. Great post and gorgeous photos. Charles’s camellias are spectacular all 60+ of them I am sure.

  2. I’ve been growing Camellias for a number of years now and have found the best performer in my garden so far has been C. sasanqua Jean May. It is a fairly low grower with beautiful, shiny dark-green leaves and lots of soft pink blooms starting around late October and lasting through December. Best of all, it begins to bloom profusely almost from the day you put it in the ground — very easy to grow in our area.

    • Hi Wayne, Thanks for the heads up on ‘Jean May’. I had been told that C. sasanqua was not hardy in our area and gets killed to the ground in hard winters. I wonder if you have had yours through a winter when we reach our hardiness lows. Maybe that will never happen again! Carolyn

  3. Well, Carolyn you had a perfect day for your visit . . . the light in your photographs is magic! I simply sit here in amazement at these beautiful flowers and shrubs . . . the foliage is stunning as well. I have never seen such a outstanding collection. Each is exquisite. I am extremely jealous . . . looking out on my barren land . . . imagining it really . . . for it is dark just now. How long will these blooms keep going? I suppose it depends on the weather . . . Of course it depends on the weather. There are still so many buds! What an inspiring post as was your Part One. Lovely!

    • Thanks Carol. We have been having unseasonably low temperatures for mid-December around here, as low as 15 degrees. The buds on my own camellias look frozen, but they still have color. I will ask Charles what happened to his and report back. The buds of the spring-blooming camellias are already formed on the plants so they must go through very cold weather and still bloom. I am relatively new to this myself. I am so happy that when you looked at my photos, it looked like a perfect day for my visit. Actually it was sunnier than I like for photographs and the wind was whipping. Charles actually held the flowers still for some of the photos. Carolyn

  4. I have a special love for camellias. Maybe because they never let me down but maybe they begin their show of color when all the other plants and shrubs are shutting down for winter. You displayed some spectacular varieties. My pick of your selections: Camellia x ‘Autumn Spirit’.

  5. Beautiful and informative post. I appreciate the shots of the entire shrubs as well as I’m always interested in how a plant will work in the landscape.

  6. All so beautiful!
    The red one is my favorite too.

  7. patientgardener Says:

    My favourite is the white Snowman – thanks for sharing we dont see to have autumn flowering camellias here in the UK

  8. hi Carolyn, the winters snowman is definately my favourite…

  9. Very pretty — I love the side-by-side shots!

  10. Theresa Higgins Says:

    The camilla pics are so crisp! I think I read about Charles’ garden in the newspaper before. Ther Inquirer I think. It looks like a great one to tour.
    I especially loved your posting about the importance of the oak tree to so many native species. I posted it on my facebook page to pass the word along. I will be looking for that book too!
    Merry Christmas!
    Terri Higgins

  11. Enjoy all your articles. just started woodlands garden last year. have lots of
    room and will be adding Camillias next year. will be looking for fragrant plants
    to add.

  12. They are so beautiful!

  13. Gorgeous camellias and such great photos too! Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

  14. I love white ones. They ones we have here are mildly fragrant. But they are very rare in our subtropical climate. Have a great Christmas as well.

  15. I’m impressed that you can keep track of the names of all these camellias!!!

    • Hi Eliza, I just got your comment because it was in a spam folder that I didn’t know I had. I could never keep track of all the camellia names. My husband came along and took notes for each photo as Charles narrated the names and info. Even then it took a while to correctly label each photo. It was worth it though. Carolyn

  16. Dear Carolyn, as with Part 1, these are such mouth-wateringly divine images that would be unable to choose one so would have to have at least 2 – a red and a white. In the local garden centre, many of the autumn bloomers have brown buds and spoilt blooms – is the rain and wet a problem for Camellias?

    thank you for your informative and beautifully illustrated posts. Glad I found your blog. Wishing you a Happy Christmas and will be back for more in 2011

    Laura x

    • Hi Laura, I have read a lot about camellias and have never found a comment that rain and wet are a problem. I will ask Charles Cresson if I get a chance. Freezing temperatures will kill the flowers and damage the buds if they have expanded too far. If the buds are still tight, then if we have a warm spell in January, they will bloom. The buds on Ackerman hybrids are the most cold hardy and have the best chance of surviving no matter what the temperature, although no normally fall-blooming buds will make it all the way through to spring. Merry Christmas, Carolyn

  17. Is the red Camellia japonica the same as the future introduction Morris Mercury from the Morris Arboretum?

  18. Love your pictures. I just bought 3 Snowman camellias and want to use them for some privacy. Please post more landscaping pictures since i would love to know how your using them in the landscape design.

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