Silky Camellias & Kousa Dogwoods



From left to right: Dogwoods (photos 1 and 2) and Stewartia


London Town woodlands filled with dappled shade and calm layers of deep green, drape an elegant look instantly when two botanical gems present their demure blossoms. If there were only two plants one could pick to define elegance and art in a woodland garden, they would be Stewartias and Kousas.


Camellias end their spring flower blossoms around mid April in the woodland gardens at London Town. But in another two months a member of the same family, Theaceae fills the woodlands with similar or maybe even more delicate pearly white blossoms. Silky Camellia, Japanese Stewartia are common names of genus Stewartia. This genus has 2 native species and almost 21 non-native species. All have exceptionally beautiful flowers, leaves and habit of the tree.


Stewartias have intrigued botanist for hundreds of years, its origin, its geographical distribution, deciduous leaves, all are of interest. "In 1917, the plant explorer Ernest Henry Wilson traveled to present-day South Korea, on his sixth and final collecting expedition in East Asia. He would spend nearly the next seven months in the region, traveling widely." https://arboretum.harvard.edu/plant-bios/japanese-stewartia/


"If there is a tree that embodies the Japanese principle of wabisabi, the intuitive appreciation of understated beauty, it is the genus Stewartia." Here is a good guide for cultivation and habit of Stewartias: http://pollyhillarboretum.org/.../StewartiasInCultivation...


The distribution of species between Eastern Aisa (EA) and eastern North America (ENA) has been studied widely to understand species distribution and origin. "The disjunct distribution of plant genera between eastern Asia (EA) and eastern North America (ENA) has long attracted the attention of biologists and biogeographers. For most genera that have been studied, there are more species in EA than in ENA, and the diversity anomaly may have resulted from the greater physiographical heterogeneity in EA than in ENA in conjunction with climate and sea level changes. The genus Stewartia (Theaceae) displays this diversity anomaly, with two species in ENA and 21 species in EA." https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/704354...


Kousa dogwoods have a similar elegance and habit like Stewartias. Paired together, they would painted the most elegant picture there could be of a calm woodland garden. An elegant tree for all seasons, its bark, leaves and flowers are an artist and gardeners dream. Here is a link to some neat pictures: https://mortonarb.org/pla.../trees-and-plants/kousa-dogwood/


Designing a woodland garden involves, understanding the site and habit of plants so that they could naturalize easily. Adding artistic specimen trees adds depths of layers and elegance to the gardens. Come and enjoy the Kousas and Stewartias of London Town gardens in the spring walk and the dell.

2 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All