While there was general agreement that Camellia japonica ’Lemon Glow’ was not winter hardy and would not survive here, thanks to the recommendation of my friend Bridget who actually grows the plant, it is now flourishing in my garden. Experience trumps theory every time. With pale yellow flowers–as rare in color as they are elegant–and shiny dark evergreen foliage, the plant is a knockout. And so floriferous, it’s bursting with buds every year. (The only problem–and my Public Enemy # 1– is the vole, but that’s a tale for another time.)
I garden in the Hamptons, New York, Zone 7, though I don’t think that means much anymore. The weather has gone loony: We are in Siberia one day and in Miami the next. So far, the plants seem to be taking it in their stride–better than this gardener, I might add. But there is something important to keep in mind with Spring flowering camellias: Early Spring bloomers may open buds in Winter if the weather is unseasonably warm; to avoid this, buy late Spring bloomers. Great advice from camellia guru David Parks of Camellia Forest Nursery.
From a rare pale yellow camellia to a rare purple witch hazel: I now have on order Hamamelis vernalis ‘Amethyst’. The flower color will stop you in your tracks. (Check out the photo in the 2012 catalog of RareFind Nursery.) Other attributes? Well, there’s the grey-green foliage, which turns a brilliant scarlet in autumn, and the spicy perfume of the flowers. More than enough for me.
My go-to references for camellias and witch hazels respectively are: Ackerman,William, “Beyond The Camellia Belt”, and Lane,Chris,”Witch Hazels”.