There is only one plant that can match the old roses when it comes to voluptuous soft pinks or – even more unusual – rich pinks that age to almost neon shades which become overlaid with a blue-grey bloom: the camellia … which insists on blooming for me in winter.
The problem is that my winter is not suitable for camellias. Two kilometres away and several hundred meters away from the water, I have neighbours who hardly ever have frost, and whose plants face away from the morning sun. Now you should see the sheer excess of THEIR camellias, dozens of cultivars and hundreds of bushes.
Mine face into the morning sun and regularly show frost damage. However when we have a few warmer nights in a row, such as this last week, and now that the bushes are larger and dense enough to have shady sides, one can find a few near perfect blooms. But even on bitterly cold mornings, the pink camellias call one across the valley from behind the gum trees – and you tend to go, even when you know that from close by you will be disappointed.
PS: I can’t get away from the latest garden developments: next to the big lawn in the far right of the photo above, taken from the arboretum, you can see the ground work that has been done on the Mothers’ Garden. And we’ve started digging the holes for the roses that are being transplanted into the new Old Rose Garden…