|Camellias! As hardy as I could find.|
I blame the writer Eudora Welty for my recent purchase of camellias (Camellia japonica) for my garden.
A while back, I read Tell About Night Flowers: Eudora Welty’s Gardening Letters, 1940-1949, edited by Julia Eichelberger). In nearly every letter to her publisher, Welty mentions her camellias.
I knew as I read the letters that camellias are not hardy enough for my garden. But oh how Welty went on and on, letter after letter, about those camellias. They really must be something special when they bloom.
I was gritting my teeth with envy.
Then I did some more research and found out that some gardeners are growing camellias in a climate similar to mine. Perhaps I should try? Why not try? What is there to lose, but a little time and money?
What is there to gain? A few beautiful blooms? A reason to boast? Why not?
I pondered it all. For over a year I thought about it, and then I decided late last summer to clear out a spot on the north side of the sunroom for The Garden of Southern Follies and Delights. Yes, the advice is to plant camellias on the north side of the house so they don’t bud out too soon in the spring.
I ordered the camellias several months ago for spring planting. They arrived today and I’m pleased to report I’ve already planted them.
|The Garden of Southern Follies and Delights|
I realize the picture of the Garden of Southern Follies and Delights is a little underwhelming. But imagine it in a few years if the camellias make it through a couple of winters. What a sight to behold it will be. It will then surely be a Garden of Southern Delights.
Or if you prefer, and your glass is half empty or you are a skeptic or you don’t like singing birds, sweet little kittens or happy frolicking puppies, imagine me planting something else there in a few years, muttering about the Garden of Southern Follies.
I am, of course, imaging it as the Garden of Southern Delights. I always plant with optimism. And now I’m also thinking about Crinums, thanks to the writings of Elizabeth Lawrence. Criminy. Crinums.
Some will think I’ve lost my mind. Others? Well, I can just imagine a group of old gardeners sitting on a porch on a hot summer’s night, sipping sweet tea. A fan turns slowly overhead as they sit and rock back and forth, fanning themselves with the kind of fans that funeral homes used to hand out, with their name printed on them for advertising. All is quiet except for the occasional chirp of a cricket and the soft squeaking as the chairs rock back and forth on the wooden porch floor.
“Oh, my sakes, do you remember when that foolish gardener, what was her name, tried to grow camellias up north in Indiana?”
“I sure do.”
“Did they live?”
“Why I don’t remember if they lived. I just know she tried and I think that’s what’s most important. She tried.”
“I agree with that. She tried. But, I do wonder how they did…”