Last evening, a local television weather person lamented the demise of cherry and dogwood flowers in the recent freeze, while cautioning that more of the same cold was on tap for later in the week. Clearly, she was not a gardener, for the damaged blooms were cherries and magnolias, not dogwoods. Even if dogwoods flower weeks early, they will not appear until nearer the end of March.
While there are few surprises, with flowers arriving weeks early following this very mild winter, one autumn flowering camellia (Camellia ‘Winter’s Star’, below) has finally gotten around to blooming. This is late, not seven months early, as the plump flower buds showed no signs of opening in November while neighboring camellias bloomed in profusion.
And, this is not so unusual, since this particular camellia often flowers as others are fading, with some buds delayed in opening until a warm spell in January, when the flowers typically last for a day until the next freeze turns them to brown. That is likely to be the fate of this camellia’s flowers this week, though they’ll last for a few more days until the next freeze.
Don’t ask why this camellia is flowering months late, it’s beyond my comprehension. But, one thing I do know. Most years, the unopened flower buds are freeze dried by February, and though I wonder why the camellia didn’t flower earlier in the extraordinarily warm second half of winter, it’s no wonder that the buds didn’t freeze dry when there was hardly a freeze.
After twenty-eight years, the garden remains one inexplicable curiosity after another.