Gar­den notes

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS -

WIN­TER FLOW­ERS need to be mag­nif­i­cent, long­bloom­ing and to­tally, glo­ri­ously trou­ble-free. In other words, they need to be camel­lias.

Camel­lias are for­got­ten as we rely more on florists’ blooms than home-grown posies to give friends. Camel­lias don’t sur­vive as long as lil­i­ums or hot-house roses when they’re cut, but if you buy a suit­able va­ri­ety, they’ll look lovely for a week or two. In the win­ter gar­den, camel­lias are un­sur­passed.

THE SIX RULES FOR STUN­NING CAMEL­LIAS

Choose the right va­ri­ety. There are camel­lias for ev­ery cli­mate and gar­den in New Zealand, from sub-trop­i­cal to the coolest of moun­tain tops. Ask your lo­cal nurs­ery for the ones that suit your cli­mate.

Feed with camel­lia food after bloom­ing, wa­ter in thor­oughly and mulch well. Camel­lias are drought­tol­er­ant once es­tab­lished. Prune only to keep a neat shape. Other­wise, just en­joy them. The only other time you need to get out your prun­ing saw is to to­tally re­ju­ve­nate an el­derly camel­lia.

Stick to one colour or har­mon­is­ing shades. ‘Pink’ can be a thou­sand colours when it comes to camel­lias and some clash hor­ri­bly.

Hunt out fra­grant camel­lias or ones that make ex­cel­lent cut flow­ers – they do ex­ist!

Jackie French ex­tols the virtues of the hum­ble camel­lia and tells you what to do in the gar­den in July.

Let your­self fall in love. The best camel­lia to grow is the one you in­stantly adore be­cause then you’ll feed and wa­ter it and, ev­ery year, glory in its flow­ers.

Magic spots for camel­lias

Try a neatly trimmed hedge of camel­lias in­stead of a front fence.

Es­palier camel­lias to turn a bor­ing wall or fence into a thing of beauty.

Fill giant hang­ing bas­kets with pros­trate camel­lias and hang them out­side your win­dows to en­joy them in­doors and out.

Place two giant pots of camel­lias ei­ther side of the front door.

Fill dra­matic black or earth­en­ware ceramic pots with camel­lias as a hedge along the front of the house or along the drive­way, and then move them to a less ob­vi­ous spot when their flow­er­ing has fin­ished.

Brighten that dull shaded area along the side of the house – fill it with camel­lias and win­ter glory.

There is a camel­lia for ev­ery cli­mate and gar­den.

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