A Camellia Redemption

I bought this camellia ten years ago specifically to grow in a pot in the Courtyard Garden.  I was looking for plants that would stand some shade and would add colour to this shady damp bit of concrete between the outside cludgy and the conservatory (a romantic description or what!).

I would have told you that her name was Debbie, in my head that is what she is called but when I checked to make sure it turns out she most definitely is not.  So whoever she is, she is rather lovely.
So there she is when she was new, looking happy enough in her pot.  She was happy, she did exactly what I had wanted from her and flowered well year on year.  I made sure she did not dry out too much and all was good.
Fast forward to 2019 and  she has become a goodly sized shrub; however she started to flower less.  I worried I was not keeping her watered enough in the summer, but nothing seemed to make much difference.  I decided I really ought to release her from her pot.  The next question was 'release her to where?
I am lucky that I have acidic soil, so I knew I had the right conditions in the garden.  I have a red  camellia in the Spring Border that after its initial couple of years sulking, she now flowers well every year.  So I was confident that once Not-Debbie (as she is now known) had settled in she would thrive.
Whilst I was pondering this, fate (or should I say my neighbours) stepped in provide an opportunity.  In the Autumn of 2021 they replaced the delapidated fence in that separates our gardens.  It was quite shiny and clean when first installed and was a significant change: a change for the good, but it was change.

I stood there looking at it thinking that it was like a large blank canvas and then I realised it was exactly a blank canvas to plant against.
After some hefty pot/camellia wrangling, Not-Debbie was in place.  There were no buds on her at this point so I was not losing any flowers in 2022.  I kept her well watered through the summer that she would settle in and not dry out.  This spot in the Conservatory Border does not dry out as quickly as some of the other parts of the garden.  She is provided with some shade by the Bramley tree, but she also gets some sun.

Spring 2023 arrived and there was no buds/flowers.  I was not hugely surprised but had to admit to being a bit disappointed.

Throughout 2023 I continued to make sure she had enough water.  Camellias will drop their buds if they have too dry a summer.  As the season developed I was fairly sure I could see buds forming.  This was exciting.
By the time it got to February this year there was definite buddage. Now I started to watch her obsessively closely.
In early March there were the first signs of the buds opening.
and then with a softly heard 'pumph' there she was flowering away like a good'un.

I congratulated myself on a successful relocation and redemption of the beautiful Not-Debbie.  I will of course continue to make sure she does not dry out in the summers and I will look forward to seeing her become the shrub that she wants to be.

Take care and be kind.

For more from the Blackberry Garden follow me on Twitter X  Facebook and Instagram


  1. Oh my goodness: They're beautiful Camellias! I wish I could grow them, but my climate/zone is just a bit too cold in the winter. I'm a huge fan, though! Good for you for taking such good care of "Not-Debbie" and the others!


Post a Comment

Comments are approved before being published