Flowers of hydrangeas, azaleas, and toad lilies faded after several nights of freezing temperatures last week, but now autumn flowering camellias have opened into an impressive display not often seen in this garden. Certainly, all camellias flower dependably, but rarely do blooms coincide as they do today.
While cold temperatures slow the camellias’ flowering cycle, I suspect warm autumn temperatures before and following the freeze have encouraged this show of blooms. Saturday was likely to be the last near seventy degree afternoon until spring, as bees supped on nectar of flowers of ‘Winter’s Star’ (above) and ‘Snow Flurry’ (below) while clouds from a cold front darkened the sky. In Sunday’s cold and howling winds, bees shelter for protection.
With cold looming in the forecast, the progression of flowers is likely to be slowed, but blooms are not damaged until temperatures fall to twenty degrees or below. Each year, unopened buds remain in January, and several might flower in a short warm spell, though usually these are damaged by subsequent freezes.