July colour in the arboretum

You can see them clearly from the house, although in the photograph it takes a little imagination; behind the white stems of the tall gum trees two Camellia ‘Donation’ proudly sport a crop of pure pink flowers, and other, shyer, camellias flaunt their shiny evergreen foliage. Go closer and you will find there too are flowers. So near to the water it really is too cold for them. But after 15 plus years the camellias stand taller and throw protective shadows against the frost.  With the exception of one night four weeks ago, which was one of the four coldest nights I’ve ever known here, winter has been mild so far, and the camellias are happy. And that means they are flowering. So up into the arboretum we have been going to admire them.

camellia donation

‘Donation’ demands a group pose; the other want portraits.

Camellia 1

camellia 2

camellia 3

And then the boys pick up a huge flower fallen from a tree and bring it to show me…

camellia 4

But after weeks of collecting beautiful autumn leaves and stacking them up, one on top of the other, a red one, a yellow one, a multi-coloured one, and sending me home with a sheaf of leaves to spread in the blue plate on the table (their idea, not mine), presenting me with one found flower is apparently not enough. So:

Creating camellia 1

An azalea gets picked and added. And my enthusiastic response leads to a new game…

Creating camellia 2

Soon enough leaves get added to the confection – I’m only showing you some of their trophies.

Creating camellia 3

Creating camellia 4

And still the flower grows…

Creating camellia 5

But eventually we leave it ceremoniously on a rock, a funeral spray for a lost autumn.

Creating camellia 6



  1. our weatherman is threatening minus 1 for Monday evening. I’m nervous. I’ve never had frost in my garden! Are the pots on the verandah likely to be OK? But it is usually just a little warmer than they say. Got a vicious cold front coming on Friday, with snow.

    • I agree with Jean, Diana. The roof and house walls’ heat provide some shelter. Sheets, enen blankets secured against the wind and perhaps supported above plants by furniture and packed down with planks on the edges will leave your plants as snug as yourself in bed – even over 2-3 days.if needs be, although its best to open them at least partially by day.

  2. What a lovely composition you and the boys made.
    Diana, If you are worried about your pots on the verandah, you can throw a sheet or some other kind of big cloth over them; that should be enough to protect them from mild frost.

  3. Monday and Tuesday in the forecast now. I’ll collect the orchids and his banana plant onto the verandah. The rest must take its chance. Thank you both for simple and practical advice.

  4. That is a huge camellia bloom; that bush must be happy! I love the little arrangement left on a rock. Perhaps someone will come across it and appreciate the artistry.

  5. Hi Jack! I’m an avid follower of Sequoia Gardens and thought I was lost when I landed on your new-look blog! But thank heavens, still the same Sequoia! I’ve been reading the 2010 comments on your garden map and I totally understand your seesaw feelings about plans, plans, plans and/or selling. The upkeep costs of a property such as yours is phenomenal, as is time, and enthusiasm, and generating more income, possibly somewhere else, not easy to do. We have an 8.5ha (21 acres) smallholding in Tarlton (Gauteng), on the border of the Cradle of Humankind, and my garden is just a small percentage of that, just enough for me to handle and juggle between painting, running the business and looking after my chooks. Whether you sell or not, either way I wish you the best of luck and please let us know whether you will be doing a new blog in the event of your selling. Cheers!

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