I’m not a great Camellia fan. I find their dark evergreen foliage can be relentlessly gloomy, especially in our winter months. But when you’re greeted in a garden by these playful blooms, you can’t help but feel uplifted. I’m strangely enchanted by their offbeat flappy petals and their in-your-face winter colour. And when the sun does shine, they have a gentle, slightly cloying (heading towards mothballs) scent, which is no doubt great for early pollinators.
A week later, and these brilliant blooms haven’t survived the snow,
but new buds have toughed it out, and are ready to put on a show once more. And despite myself, I’m finding it difficult not to love ‘em.
Here’s a great article by Noel Kingsbury on how and where to grow Camellia sasanqua, with a helpful list of Camellia nurseries too.