A Camellia in the Artist’s Garden

Camellia japonica

We teeter on the edge of how far north Camellia japonica can be a successful indulgence. The best possible location we have for growing camellias is in the micro-environment of our walled-in Japanese garden.  Nature, however, was not so sure.  For a number of years we battled back, nurturing the camellia along, pruning out the winter kill, hoping for a better result next year. Then this spring – zap! I turned the corner in the garden one day and there it was – in full bloom. The camellia seemed to think it had been sojourning in Georgia or at least North Carolina for all its boastfulness. My thought was, nice try, but I am sure the mild winter deserves the credit. It is similar to the color in a painting trying to claim the glory, whereas tonal value is really doing the heavy lifting.