Monday, December 11, 2017


I have three camellias in the garden. All are sasanquas, because I feel like a camellia without fragrance is rather disappointing. One is 'Yuma', a single pink and white, 'Mine-No-Yuki', a double white, and the third is a single pink that I grew from seed. I purchased the cultivars from Camellia Forest Nursery a couple of years ago and they are still pretty small. I grew this camellia from seed is 10 years ago. Now it's over 8 feet tall.

I planted it too close to the stalls and now it has a rather two
dimensional look. It has kind of espaliered itself against the wall.

I like that it's in tree form. I didn't limb it up. I want to grow out and cutting and see what form it takes with more room. Years ago I saw camellias in the White Garden at the JC Raulston Arboretum growing as small trees and they were lovely. They were either tea-oil (Camellia oleifera) or tea (C. sinensis) camellias that produced single fragrant white flowers in the fall.

The flowers of this camellias smell sweet, particularly after a warmup, and remain strongly fragrantly for a while even after the flowers have frozen and dried. It's prudent to check the flowers before sticking your nose in it because it's a great favorite of yellow jackets, although the more peaceable honeybees and hoverflies like them too.

Naturally I have seen camellias I covet while driving around running errands. Especially one that has small double dark pink flowers in such profusion that it looks like one of my swamp roses in bloom in the spring. I've got to find one like that.

November is the time for aster 'Miss Bessie to shine. Hundreds of insects
throng to its flowers when its in bloom, like these honeybees

and bumblebees.

Many different species of insects visit the asters: butterflies, moths, wasps, and even flies.

There's usually some roses until December.

'Caldwell Pink' with 'Miss Bessie'

Fall has been slow to arrive here. We didn't get a hard frost until the second or third week in November. Early color was a bust, although that may have only been true for our locality. I don't know about south and east of here, but the second we drove north into Wake County on Thanksgiving Day the color was spectacular. Bright crimson dogwoods, red maples in shimmering shades ranging from golden yellow through orange to blood red, and pumpkin and scarlet oaks.

The late fall color here has been pretty good. I've noticed in other years when we didn't get much fall color early on, we still got late fall color in the latter half of November through to December. Several of the roses are good for late color. Until I started growing species roses and rugosa hybrids here I didn't know that roses could even have fall color. I have a lot of rugosas, all grown from seed except for 'Hansa', 'Foxi Pavement', and 'Sir Thomas Lipton'. They provide beautiful spots of color in the November landscape. The effect is like the golden late afternoon condensed in leaf form, with splashes of orange, red, and pink.

The leaves of prairie rose (R. setigera) are golden briefly before bright pumpkin orange.

Virginia rose doesn't have fragrance like Carolina rose (that one has a
delicious damask rose and lemon scent), but it has better fall color.

A late turning red maple

For the first time I can remember a time when the apricot maple didn't turn, and it could very well be because it's splitting down the middle. Inconvenient to say the least. One half is leaning over the driveway below the house, and the other is leaning over the neighbor's fence. A hazard of big trees with multiple leaders.

It's been a good year for oaks here. Even the willow oaks turned
a golden russet orange. A beautiful oak at the local McDonald's.

A Shumard oak?

Our wild blueberries, the most of which are Southern black
blueberries, never seem to fail, and finish coloring very late.

Like the blueberries the swamp cyrillas never fail. They turn gold
before changing to vivid shades of scarlet and orange in December.

Blueberries and swamp cyrillas are the last colorful woody plants to
lose their leaves. When they are bare I feel that winter has truly begun.


  1. Your fall color is all the prettier against that vivid blue sky. We've had very little in the way of fall color even by our low standards but then summer overstayed its welcome here and keeps making unwanted return visits. I'm VERY impressed that you've grown a Camellia from seed - that's a feat that I can't even imagine attempting.

  2. So wonderful to see a post from you. I always love seeing your beautiful blooms and foliage. I love your asters and roses of course.

    Happy Christmas holidays dear one ~ FlowerLady

  3. Wonderful fall colours, especially because here the trees are already bare. It sounds stupid, I have some large Camellias in my garden, but no fragrant one. so I think I have to go out for a Camellia sasanqua. First I have to find out if they are enough hardy in our country, for I have never seen autumn flowering Camellias in Dutch gardens, but may be....climate is changing over the years.

  4. Oh how I wish I could grow Camellias! Alas, my climate is too cold. I tried to grow one in a pot that I could bring indoors for the winter, but it didn't survive a full year. I wonder if I didn't have the right type of soil. They are so beautiful. Autumn is lovely in your area.

  5. Lovely pics of your fall garden. I think I'll have to find some room in mine for Miss Bessie. Great combination of pink and purple. I have two very old camellias, both reliable and trouble free. But they don't have scent unfortunately.

    1. That camellia is amazing. Your November garden was amazing, especially your swaths of asters. I also love the blueberry foliage. I assume they also produce abundant fruit, which must be wonderful. I love blueberries but have had limited success with them. I am still working on finding the right blueberry for the right spot in my garden.

    2. Sometimes the blueberries produce a lot of fruit and sometimes they don't! All depends on whether or not there's early blooming, late frosts and/or enough rainfall during the spring and early summer. The wild blueberries are more reliable than my Sunshine Blue though; that one just seems to bloom too early and then gets caught out by freezes. I ordered some late blooming rabbiteye blueberries this fall to try to get around that issue.

  6. You do have some really nice fall color. Ours was a little disappointing this year. I love the Willowleaf Aster, that's not one that I have grown.


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