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Botanist's Lens: Fall Camellia Stalwarts

From upper left clockwise: 1. and 2. Tea Camellia (C. sinensis), 3. Camellia ‘Londontown Blush’, 4. Camellia sansanqua, 5. Camellia ‘Winter’s Rose,’ and 6. Camellia 'Winter's Star'

Camellia (kuh-MEE-lee-uh) was named after Georg Josef Kamel (1661-1706) who was a Moravian/Czech missionary and botanist.

Some of the fall blooming Camellia stalwarts of London Town include the Tea Camellias and the two prolific bloomers, C. sasanquas and "London Town Blush."

"Tea Camellias were first classified by Linnaeus in 1753. It has been grown in China as a beverage crop since around 2700 B.C." ~ Beyond the Camellia Belt, William Ackerman.

The beneficial properties of tea's tannic compounds have been well known for centuries. But did you know that Camellias can protect from ultraviolet light as well? According to some recent research: "Textiles have been considered a primary tool in shielding UVR. Light fabrics have to be treated with select finishing products. Recently, there has been increasing interest in use of natural dyes. For eg. natural dyes of tea provide high UV protection for fabric." ~International Camellia Journal, 2018, 50th edition.

The Tea Camellias of London Town's gardens, growing by the dell with the South River in its backdrop, are truly a delightful sight. Two other outstanding fall Camellia stalwarts are the C. sasanquas and of course Camellia 'London Town Blush'. Both have large blossoms, with pollen and petals putting on a beautiful display.

'Winters Star' and 'Winters Rose' are also two neat Camellia olifera hybrids that have beautiful displays for years to come, if they get planted in the right place. Follow us in the coming weeks to know more about when and where to plant Camellias and a peak at other Camellia stalwarts of London Town Gardens.

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