Gardens are Beautiful, No Matter the Size

Spring has been all wonky and weird. 80 degrees one day, and 45 the next. Last year, I planted 1500 spring bulbs and progagated lots of columbine, and all those wonderful flowers couldn’t tell what the heck to do. Still, a garden is rarely an ugly thing; it somehow turns out amazing, no matter the losses. I personally believe it’s because it doesn’t take much to dazzle or memorize us in a garden. Whether it’s a small front yard with a few hanging ferns and a begonia or the Biltmore House–it’s all the same to our eye, and our psyches. So, while most of those bulbs didn’t survive the freakishly cold winter, the December to March snow, or the nerve-wracking spring, the garden is still showing signs of wonder. Check it out.


Cold Hardy Camellias

April Tryst

Cold-hardy Caellias
April 4, 2011

Related topics: camellias

If you’ve ever pined for camellias well, pine no more. New cultivars have arrived in Western North Carolina and they are tough, cold resistant and dazzling.

Local nursery BB Barns held a seminar one recent Saturday, and I went to check it out. I associate camellias with warmer climes in the Deep South, where it blooms in late winter. But the flowering tree is an Asian native that’s related to the tea plant (C. sinensis), and there are cold-hardy varieties, I learned at the seminar. With names like April Tryst, Pink Icicle, Snow Flurry and Carolina Moonmist, my desire to plant this winter-blooming was well whetted. All total, 60 varieties of camellias have been identified that tolerate the zone 6 mountain climate here in the Asheville area.

To ensure the greatest success, follow these cultural instructions.

When to plant: Camellias should be planted by mid-June to establish good roots while soil is still warm.

Location: Protect from wind and place in filtered bright light. Afternoon sun is preferred over morning sun, avoiding direct, hot sun. Note: deep shade will not produce blooms.

Planting Instructions: Camellias need excellent drainage, add small gravel to the soil if needed for better aeration (do not add peat moss). Similar to rhododendrons, they need to be planted a little higher, pot height or more and plant 6” on both sides of pot.

Fertilization: Camellias like acid, so try Holly tone to improve acid levels and stop fertilizing in late June to allow plants to harden off prior to winter.

Winter care: Wilt proof is recommended for first year plants to avoid dessciation, and in winters when severe weather is expected.
Finally, these camellias are good for Asheville proper, which is zone 6, and 2,400 ft in elevation. Planting them above 2,600 ft in elevation is not recommended.

To find out more visit BB Barns or go to