Roses are my first love. I specifically chose to grow them because I have the right conditions for them. Full sun. Acidic soil. Conditions too hot for blackspot most of the summer. They can take our heat. Most of them like our mild winters. And they give back - blooming through most of the spring, summer and fall. Roses are hard workers, and it's easy for me to love them.
Camellias are my second love, but they were an accidental love.
Being from the South, I had seen camellias in gardens here and there. And yet I never really thought about them for my garden. Why not? Well, I was busy filling my garden with roses! And other summer blooming plants as well, of course. Plants that smiled up at you in the garden centers, begging you to take them home, plant them, and give them a chance. Camellias bloom in the fall, winter, or early spring. I hadn't yet thought about having something blooming in the garden during those times. Camellias like good soil. I have no good soil. Camellias like shade in our scorching summer sun. I don't have a lot of shade. Camellias like to be protected from wind. We get a lot of wind here, and not a lot of areas are protected. Other plants have rows and rows given them in the garden centers during the height of planting season. Camellias may get a small corner in an out of the way area of the garden center, if at all, and during the off season. We were strangers, not having yet met.
Then a couple of years ago around this time of year, there was a death in our family. And I received two camellias as gifts. They were given by two different people, but with the same explanation: camellias bloom during this time, and they felt a camellia would be a nice remembrance, as well as a fitting gift for a gardener.
Since that time, I have added a few more camellias to my garden, and started learning more about this fascinating and beautiful plant. I now go out of my way to acquire more camellias. I go to nurseries that carry them. I look for places to add them in the garden. The ones I have, I try to make happy. I amend the soil. I try to plant them in the right sun/shade conditions. I water them regularly. I worry about them. And when they bloom, I'm happy.
And a little bit sad, too.
A terribly tragedy brought camellias into my garden. Now I think it would be tragic if my garden were ever without them.
I'm joining Donna at GardenWalk GardenTalk for her Word 4 Wednesday meme on Accidental.