Sunday, November 29, 2009

New Tea Garden, well almost

Yesterday Meg and I visited Camellia Forest Nursery and purchased 5 more camellias. The nursery has 200 different camellias in stock to sell and somewhere around 600 different camellias in all. Very impressive operation indeed.

I recently became interested in camellias for tea! So we picked out two different plants Camellia sinensis 'Korea' and Camellia sinensis var. sinensis 'Small Leaf Tea'. The Korean is considered very cold hardy up to zone 6 and Small Leaf Tea variety is widely cultivated in Japan.

Camellia sinensis Korea This is a medium leaved tea and the plant above is a year old plant. Yes we are starting small.

Below is Camellia sinensis Small Leaf Tea This is a bigger plant and it gets to about 6 ft tall. The fresh new leaves are picked as it grows. These also have small 1 -1 1/2 inch white flowers that are cute. I am known for my special teas so why not give this a try.

Camellia sasanqua 'Tsumaorigasa' a white flower with slightly pink outer edges we bought for the garden. I looked this one up on the web and no other US sources for it other than Camellia Forest Nursery. The other two camellias we bought were Camellia japonica 'April Dawn' and Camellia japonica 'La Peppermint'

So now we have 12 camellias, none very big yet. Many of you might ask how we have room for so many as they do require a lot of space. Our goal is to build a living privacy fence so when the leaves drop of in our woods we do have to look at the neighbors across the way. When I moved here you could walk all around the house and not see any neighbors houses. The 10 acres behind us was woods and is now a small animal hobby farm. We do enjoy the animals but also enjoy the privacy.

Our woods are oaks, poplars and maples and the soil is mostly clay. Not the best conditions for growing camellias as they'd rather be under pines in a more acid soil so we can only hope for the best. Our first 4 camellias have been planted 8 months now and have set buds for flower pretty good, so we are hoping these will do ok.

OK bet a lot of you have had enough camellias. Well here is an hellebore that is starting to bloom. We saw one like it in Duke Gardens last week doing the same thing it was labeled Helleborus argutifolius Corsican Hellebore. I got this plant from a good friend about a month ago.

Today was almost 70 degrees it seemed hot there for a while. We saw a Question Mark butterfly flying about and landing on the leaves and a Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly over the pond.


Dave@The Home Garden said...

Awesome! I've been wanting a tea plant for a long time! I haven't found them here in TN yet but I'll keep looking. I am probably the reason Luzianne tea stays in business. Of course maybe I also keep the sugar companies in business too!

Shady Gardener said...

Camelias... you have a lot of them! The flowers remind me of roses and the foliage reminds me of azaleas. I'm sure they wouldn't be hardy here. They're beautiful, though. That's what's special about the zones... different plants to enjoy wherever you go. :-)

(I can have hellebores, though!) ;-)

sweet bay said...

I *have* to go to Camellia Forest one day. The JC Raulston Arboretum used to have a handsome Camellia sinensis in The White Garden, it made a very nice small tree. Camellia 'Tsumaorigasa' is beautiful.

Randy Emmitt said...

I linked the plants to Camellia Forest if you want to order a tea plant. I don't think they are very common in the US.

Shady you will share your hellebore photos? Camellias go into zones 9-6 but even here we get freeze kills. I heard -9 degrees killed a bunch here back in the early 80s.

If you want to visit the nursery you can make an appointment or they are open Saturdays 10-4

Anonymous said...

Hi Randy~~ I've come close to buying Camellia sinensis but resisted for some inexplicable reason. There is one that towers between my property and the neighbor's and I can testify to their privacy attributes. ... A most enjoyable series!

Nell Jean said...

Am I correct that C. Sinensis has a fragrance? The big C. Japonicas look as if they should smell great, but they are without a hint. C. sasanqua smells of tea in the rain.

John said...

Thanks for this great series on Camellias. Ironically we had just been paging through the Camellia Forest catalog and I had been contemplating driving by there on the way to Spring Training next year. The idea of growing a tea camellia is certainly tempting and I'm particularly inspired by the way that our own "Camellia Garden" has taken off this year. Turns out the Camellias adapt to the light conditions that we have given them and the leaves are looking much happier going into this winter. And the flowers on April Promise - well it's been quite nice. Anyway I expect to refer to your pictures as we decide what to add to the Camellia patch.

Corner Gardener Sue said...

Well, I just learned something new! It's cool to have such good looking plants, and be able to make tea with the leaves as well. Do you dry the leaves first?

I make tea with fresh leaves of pineapple sage, and various kinds of mints. Usually, it's for iced tea. I should try drying some leaves, too.

Have a great day, and please keep posting photos of the hellebores as they bloom. I am so excited for mine to bloom in a few months.

Janet said...

Great Camellias! Under pines eh? Maybe I can plant lots in my new place.

Morning Glories in Round Rock said...

Can anyone get too much of Camellias? What a beautiful privacy screen that will make, with the added benefit of making your own tea. Gorgeous!

Susan said...

How lucky you are to have such a great nursery so close by. Camellias are great no-fuss plants with gorgeous blossoms at this time of year. Enjoy your new selections.

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

It's going to look so nice when all the Camellias are blooming. I'd never heard about them for tea before.
How exciting that your hellebore has bloom starting. I love that they are one I can count on for flowers in the winter. I hope you show pictures of them in full bloom.

Carol said...

Good luck with your camellias. I envy you being able to grow them outside. Lovely photo of the blooming 'Tsumaorigasa' ... what a gorgeous flower. Hellebores blooming now... Oh Dear.

Phillip said...

I would love to visit Camellia Forest but I would probably go nuts. I visit their website often. I think it says on there that they have display gardens opened at certain times of the year? I would love to try and visit next spring.

Thomas said...

What a beautiful place. The wooden structures are spectacular.

I'm bit envious of the fact that you just had your first frost. Are you able to grow anything during the winter months?

Good luck tearing down your deck...sounds like a big job, but I'm sure it will be well worth it.

Randy Emmitt said...

An update on the tea garden March 2012, both tea camellias have died. It was a good try I guess.